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Macquarie University

Climate love

New study: Green spaces reduce crime rates in cities

Several studies have shown that higher temperatures increase the risk of violence. But no study has focused on what impact an urban heat island (UHI) or green space can have on the temperature–violence relationship.
Until now.
In the new study ”Associatons between violent crme insode and outside, air temperature, urban heat island magnitude and urban greeen space”, the authors show that a greater percentage of all vegetation is associated with significantly lower rates of violent crime committed outside.
Greater temperature was non-linearly associated with higher rates of violent crime committed both inside and outside. The findings of this study are important because both violence and heat exposure are critical health issues and will be stressed by urbanization and climate change. Expanding green space and/or reducing UHI may mitigate these effects. An earlier study, ”Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict,” has shown that global warming also increases the risk of war. For every half degree of warming, societies will see between a 10 and 20 percent increase in the likelihood of armed conflict, according to that study.
Photo by Nerea Martí Sesarino on Unsplash
Photo by Nerea Martí Sesarino on Unsplash

Learn more and download the study:



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  • George Kariuki

    12 w

    This study adds compelling evidence to the growing body of research on the benefits of green spaces.

    • Ted Weber

      12 w

      An interesting study, but (1) the correlation between assaults and green space was weak (max. r = 0.33); and (2) the analysis does not disentangle covariates. In U.S. cities, the racist practice of "redlining" segregated neighborhoods such that majority black neighborhoods were refused loans, fell into poverty, and had far less investment in infrastructure and green space than white neighborhoods. Thus, these areas are poorer, have less green space, are hotter in the summer (because of less green space), and have higher crime (because these areas were intentionally marginalized). Such areas must be the focus of tree planting to reduce the urban heat island effect and air pollution, and also the focus of economic aid and redevelopment, to compensate for past racist practices.

      2
      • Ted Weber

        12 w

        "Incidents of murder were too few to allow separate analysis." - You can tell it's an Australian city, not an American one.

        • Esther Wanjiku

          13 w

          Green spaces sure create calm and reduce levels of violence, amazing research

          2
          • Tabitha Kimani

            13 w

            Nature calms the mind and brings some kind of hope which reduces stress.

            4
            • Kevin

              13 w

              This is an incredible and well argued study

              2
              • Esther Wanjiku

                13 w

                @Kevin Maybe Nairobi could borrow a leaf from this study

              • johnte ndeto

                13 w

                Making our cities green is really a brilliant idea

                6
                • Princess

                  13 w

                  Kudos to the researchers for shedding light on this positive connection.

                  7
                  • Elizabeth Gathigia

                    13 w

                    This is very interesting

                    6
                    • Joseph Githinji

                      13 w

                      A great revelation indeed, this is a great way to create green cuties.

                      6
                      • Sarah Chabane

                        13 w

                        Super interesting, if that's not a good argument to make cities greener then I don't know what is

                        10
                      • Simon Bergbom

                        13 w

                        I hope the DC politicians will read this. We could use a lot more greenery.

                        10
                        • Esther Wanjiku

                          13 w

                          @simon_bergbom Very amazing what a little more greenery could do to avert crime

                        • Marine Stephan

                          13 w

                          Very interesting study!

                          7
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