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Title: Metro nature, environmental health, and economic value

Author: Wolf, Kathleen L.; Robbins, Alicia S.T.;

Date: 2015

Source: Environmental Health Perspectives. 123(5): 390-398.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)


Background: Nearly 40 years of research provides an extensive body of evidence about human health, well-being, and improved function benefits associated with experiences of nearby nature in cities.

Objectives: We demonstrate the numerous opportunities for future research efforts that link metro nature, human health and well-being outcomes, and economic values.

Methods: We reviewed the literature on urban nature-based health and well-being benefits. In this review, we provide a classification schematic and propose potential economic values associated with metro nature services.

Discussion: Economic valuation of benefits derived from urban green systems has largely been undertaken in the fields of environmental and natural resource economics, but studies have not typically addressed health outcomes. Urban trees, parks, gardens, open spaces, and other nearby nature elements—collectively termed metro nature—generate many positive externalities that have been largely overlooked in urban economics and policy. Here, we present a range of health benefits, including benefit context and beneficiaries. Although the understanding of these benefits is not yet consistently expressed, and although it is likely that attempts to link urban ecosystem services and economic values will not include all expressions of cultural or social value, the development of new interdisciplinary approaches that integrate environmental health and economic disciplines are greatly needed.

Conclusions: Metro nature provides diverse and substantial benefits to human populations in cities. In this review, we begin to address the need for development of valuation methodologies and new approaches to understanding the potential economic outcomes of these benefits.

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Wolf, Kathleen L.; Robbins, Alicia S.T. 2015. Metro nature, environmental health, and economic value. Environmental Health Perspectives. 123(5): 390-398.


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