In this issue, we report on work taking place - this time a collaboration between i-Tree and the University of Illinois to calculate an individual's 'green envelope' which will then be mapped against stress levels. Lead researcher Dr William Sullivan has recently found a "positive, linear association" between street tree density and self reported stress recovery. It's fascinating stuff, but can it make a difference?
Absolutely, says Dr William Bird, the leading proponent of the health benefits of green space in the UK, who tells HW this week of a significant change among health practitioners who now 'get' the link between health and horticulture.
"Ten years ago I would have said no (they don't understand), five years ago a few of the leading ones; but the evidence that is coming through now is so strong that actually I don't think you'll get any doctor now saying this is waste of time."
But there is a new battleground - the pressing financial problems the NHS now faces against which the relationship between health and horticulture - even while now taken seriously by practitioners - may be seen as a "distraction".
Countering the risk can only be achieved by pressing the investment case, so spend on green spaces - whether community gardens, as Bird aims to encourage, or other facilities - is seen as a potential saving, not a cost.