Green Infrastructure & Human Health

Research Direction 1

Green Spaces Nationwide and Communicable/ Non-communicable Diseases

In an era of a rapidly aging global population, increasing emphasis was placed on non-communicable diseases, injuries, along with communicable diseases. Acute respiratory and chronic diseases such as COVID-19, SARS, pulmonary disease, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic lung diseases, obesity, and diabetes, are the major cause of death in the world. The prevalence of these diseases greatly increased healthcare expenditures and disability-adjusted life years. We aim to understand the relationship between green spaces and various diseases, as well as the underlying mechanisms. The findings can provide sound evidence, effective intervention strategies, and planning and design guidance to mitigate the global burden of disease.

Research Direction 2

Transportation Landscape and Mental Health and Driving Performance

The impact of road landscape characteristics on drivers’ mental health and performance is not understood very well. To fill the knowledge gap among different landscape characteristics to improve drivers’ health and safety through environmental intervention is urgent. How urban landscapes affect people’s mental states and performance during driving tasks might be different from viewing or contacting nature in a relatively static condition. The findings related to the research topic can provide suggestions and guidance for government, city and road planners, and landscape designers to promote public health and safety during daily driving.

Research Direction 3

Work/Education Landscape and Health

Stress and anxiety are pervasive mental health problems among workers in “sweatshop” manufacturing factories and research and development (R&D) workers in the digital economy. Depression, violence, and suicide are prelant problems. Previous studies ascribed workers’ mental health problems to social-demographic and employment factors. Few have explored whether, and to what extent, the outdoor environment impacts workers’ stress and anxiety status. Without this understanding, we lose the opportunity to create evidence-based environmental interventions that promote mental health for tens of millions of workers worldwide. Our work aims to propose evidence-based landscape design strategies for the outdoor environment of workers use literature review and participatory smartphone-photography survey (PSPS) study.

Research Direction 4

Waterfront Landscape and Health

In the past decades, waterfront public spaces have been built in major cities in China. However, many of them cannot meet the needs of current users to promote public health and well-being. This research aimed to redefine and optimize the central waterfront space in the city by analyzing the relevant literature on the theoretical mechanism, scientific evidence and key element characteristics of healthy waterfront space, and investigating the impacts of the environmental elements on users’ behaviors. We used literature review, behavioral observation, photo analysis, and intervews as research method. Based on the findings, we proposed a series of guidelines on urban governance, spatial planning, landscape design, public participation to promote building healthy central waterfront spaces in the cities.