The benefits provided by natural areas to human well-being, the so-called "ecosystem services", have been widely studied. However, the relationship between these services and human health is still an expanding field of research. Many ecosystem services are directly or indirectly linked to human health and to the occurrence of certain diseases, particularly in urban environments. The provision of an ecosystem service across the territory (space) depends on complex socio-ecological networks, structured by a network of interaction between areas of supply and demand. In urban areas, different types of green spaces, which include recreation areas and street trees, are areas of supply of ecosystem services that affect the health of people in residential areas (areas of demand), mainly through cultural ecosystem services of recreation and scenic beauty. The main objective of this research is to test, through spatial networks, if the provision of recreational and scenic beauty services in urban areas is associated with the psychological health and cardiovascular health of its residents. Two main approaches will be used to test our hypotheses: a classic approach of correlation between service provision and health; and another one using a pseudo-experiment. The service offer areas will be the green areas of the city of São Paulo, and the demand will be given by a group of about 3,400 residents who are accompanied by the Longitudinal Study on Adult Health - ELSA-Brasil. For the evaluation of ecosystem services, we will adopt an approach with different scales of influence, forming supply-demand interaction networks considering different movement patterns of the city's residents: with radius of 300 m, 500 m (about 5 to 10 minutes walking), 1 km (about 15 minutes walking) and 5 km (15 minutes by car) from the patients' home. In order to measure cultural services, a sampling of the opinion of residents of the city of São Paulo on the scenic beauty and the recreation potential of the city's various urban landscapes will be collected through questionnaires. The data from these interviews will be used to qualify the different green areas in the city of São Paulo in relation to their potential to offer scenic and recreational services. Green areas' category and location data will be obtained mainly from the Digital Map of the City of São Paulo - GeoSampa. Additionally, the Green View Index (GVI) will be used, obtained from the code available on Treepedia, a tool of the MIT Senseable City Lab. Health indicators will be based on the questionnaire and exam protocols of ELSA-Brasil. We expect that the patients' health is positively related to the offer of cultural ecosystem services in the surroundings of their homes, and that there is a relationship between psychological health and cardiovascular health modulated by the offer of these services. Our intention is to contribute to the understanding of the health of the human population in cities, placing, in a spatially explicit way, green infrastructure and ecosystem services at the center of the analysis. With this approach, we aim to support public policies that promote nature-based solutions in cities.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: