Can increasing green space improve our health?

Can increasing green space improve our health?

Learn about research into the effects of foliage on health at Beer with a Scientist Mar. 14
Can increasing green space improve our health?

In neighborhoods with poor air quality and many busy streets, residents have a higher risk of heart disease. Researchers at the University of Louisville are studying air quality, innovative landscape design and human health to determine, scientifically, whether planting more trees and adding greenspaces in a neighborhood could increase the health of its residents.

Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D., director of the Diabetes and Obesity Center at UofL, will discuss the research, the Green Heart Project, at the next Beer with a Scientist event.

“No one knows whether and to what extent trees and neighborhood greenery affect human health and why,” Bhatnagar said. “This work will tell us how to design a neighborhood that supports human health and whether an increase in the urban greenspaces and vegetation could enhance physical and mental health by decreasing the levels of ambient air pollution.”

The Green Heart Project is a collaboration of UofL, The Nature Conservancy, Hyphae Design Laboratory, the Institute for Healthy Air Water and Soil, the U.S. Forest Service and the City of Louisville. The goal of the project is to assess how residential greenness and neighborhood greenspaces affect the health of our communities by decreasing the levels of pollution and promoting physical activity and social cohesion.

The talk begins at 8 p.m. onWednesday, Mar. 14, at Against the Grain Brewery, 401 E. Main St. in Louisville. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by an informal Q&A session.

Admission is free. Purchase of beer, other beverages or menu items is not required but is encouraged.

Organizers add that they also encourage Beer with a Scientist patrons to drink responsibly.

UofL cancer researcher Levi Beverly, Ph.D., created the Beer with a Scientist program in 2014 as a way to bring science to the public in an informal setting. Once a month, the public is invited to enjoy exactly what the title promises:  beer and science. For more information and to suggest future Beer with a Scientist topics, follow Louisville Underground Science on Facebook.

At the next Beer with a Scientist, Apr. 18, Deborah Yoder-Himes, Ph.D., will discuss super bacteria, antibiotic resistance and why everything is labeled "anti-bacterial."