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Am J Public Health. 2015 May;105(5):909-13. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302526. Epub 2015 Mar 19.

Neighborhood blight, stress, and health: a walking trial of urban greening and ambulatory heart rate.

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At the time of this study, Eugenia C. South was with the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Eugenia C. South is also with the Department of Emergency Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine. Michelle C. Kondo is with the Urban Health Lab, Perelman School of Medicine and the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Philadelphia, PA. Rose A. Cheney is with the Urban Health Lab, Perelman School of Medicine. Charles C. Branas is with the Urban Health Lab and the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Perelman School of Medicine.


We measured dynamic stress responses using ambulatory heart rate monitoring as participants in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania walked past vacant lots before and after a greening remediation treatment of randomly selected lots. Being in view of a greened vacant lot decreased heart rate significantly more than did being in view of a nongreened vacant lot or not in view of any vacant lot. Remediating neighborhood blight may reduce stress and improve health.

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