Unprecedented urban growth has intensified extreme heat and air pollution, and the health risks that go with them.  Green spaces have a natural capacity to provide fresh air, reduce ground temperatures, cool urban air and provide relief from heat stress.  

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 3.26.15 PMLiving in a dense urban area can increase vulnerability to heat stress and air pollution. For example, in Toronto, for every one-degree (°C) increase in maximum temperature, there was a 29% increase in ambulance response calls for heat related illness (see Bassil et al., 2010).

Poor air quality is associated with thousands of premature deaths in Canada every year.  There is also evidence that low-income, inner-city neighbourhoods, with high populations are generally more vulnerable to heat related health risks, than other urban neighbourhoods.

Nature, in the form of urban green space can help provide relief from high temperatures and poor air quality. Our report for the David Suzuki Foundation explores the evidence on how specific forms of green space can protect health by creating cooler, cleaner neighbourhoods for over 80% of Canadians who live in urban communities.

See project: Urban green space, heat and air pollution: protecting the health of urban communities 

commissioned by the David Suzuki Foundation 

Related stories:

Just Green Enough? Considering equity in green space planning

Toward Improved Public Health Outcomes From Urban Nature