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A similar survey of an urban California community found 90% of property crimes occurred in areas without vegetation.
In Chicago, a study found residents reported fewer incidents of illegal activity in places containing urban nature.
And green streetscapes encourage active modes of transport, such as walking or cycling.
Also important, tree canopies and urban green spaces have shown a significant cooling effect in cities, which reduces energy demands for air conditioning and lowers local emissions.
In a study in Philadelphia, vacant lots—which are often associated with illegal activity—were cleaned of trash and illegal dumping, planted with grass and trees, and had a small wooden fence built around the perimeter.
The greening activity was associated with reductions in violent crimes and improvements in residents' perceptions of safety.
A related study in Philadelphia found study participants who walked by a ‘greened’ vacant lot showed decreased heart rate, a sign of reduced stress, compared to a control group.
Nature offers a powerful set of tools for addressing hazards like flooding and erosion.
For instance, we are safer when rivers have more room during floods and floodwaters can disperse and slow down rather than rise, rage and threaten communities.
Along our coasts, natural features like sand dunes and marshes or coral reefs and oyster reefs reduce wave heights, absorb storm surges and help stop erosion.
Recent studies demonstrate that green spaces in urban areas may actually decrease violent and property crimes in neighborhoods.
One study comparing 98 apartment buildings in an inner-city neighborhood indicated that residents with higher amounts of nearby nature reported fewer violent and minor crimes, and fewer incivilities.