TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A team of researchers from Taiwan's National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) has discovered a correlation between the presence of green spaces and suicide rates, shedding light on how urban planning can enhance the overall well-being of communities.
The study suggests that prolonged exposure to green environments is linked to a reduction in suicide risk. For each 1% increase in green space within a town, there is a corresponding decrease of 0.2% in suicide rates.
Furthermore, the research underscores the significance of the size, shape, and proximity of neighboring green areas in influencing the effectiveness of green landscapes in reducing suicide rates. Green spaces with larger dimensions, simpler shapes, and closer distances between them are found to be more effective in this regard.
The study, which has been published in the journal "Landscape and Urban Planning," was spearheaded by Wu Chih-da (吳治達), a professor at the NCKU Department of Geomatics.
To conduct their research, the team analyzed suicide data from 368 townships across Taiwan spanning the years 2000 to 2018, drawing from the National Health Insurance database. The study also accounted for other contributing factors such as age, gender, financial status, and educational levels, which were adjusted for through statistical methods, explained Wu.
Psychiatrist Wu Chi-shin (吳其炘) emphasized the role of green spaces in alleviating stress and promoting social interactions.
Professor Wu believes that fragmented green zones can be interconnected to create green corridors, thus facilitating the expansion of green spaces in urban areas where land availability is limited. This insight underscores the potential for urban planning to foster healthier and more sustainable communities.