Urban areas are growing fast worldwide and there is an increasing concern about the relations between urbanization, environmental threats, the quality of living spaces and human health.
A healthy living environment is a prerequisite for good health. Research in environmental epidemiology clearly illustrates a direct health impact of indoor (1–4) and outdoor pollution (5,6). Living in healthy and green areas is associated with better self-assessed health (7,8), better mental health (9), lower risks of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and lower mortality from related causes (10).
This may be due to their lower air pollution and lower noise levels, higher opportunities for physical activity, facilitation of social contacts, and/or promotion of recovery from fatigue and stress.