Many assume that outdoor play areas in neighborhoods provide a healthy alternative for kids who like to hole up indoors with their electronics all day. But a new study provides scientific proof of the health benefits of neighborhood greenspace.


The University of California found that greenspaces improve mental health of urban-dwelling populations. Specifically, the researchers studied urban-dwelling adolescents to examine the association between greenspace in residential neighborhoods and aggressive behaviors. A total of 1,287 kids born in the 1990s were assessed between 2000 and 2012. The results, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, were that “Both short-term (1- to 6-month) and long-term (1- to 3-year) exposures to greenspace within 1,000 meters surrounding residences were associated with reduced aggressive behaviors.”


Further, the benefit of “increasing vegetation over the range commonly seen in urban environments was equivalent to approximately 2 to 2.5 years of behavioral maturation.” And age, gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and neighborhood quality did not alter these findings, according to the researchers.


The American Planning Association states that city parks, greenways and naturalized school grounds “can motivate young people to learn through the natural environment (which includes learning about the natural environment), bringing environmental education into the mainstream of state-mandated instructional programs. The informal learning, non-formal programs, and formal instruction associated with parks can reinforce each other, enhancing academic achievement.”


So there you have it, the benefits of parks and outdoor play areas have been scientifically proven. With this in mind, consider the neighborhood you plan to purchase a home in. Does it have a park that you can at least get to with a short drive if it isn’t within walking distance?


For your research purposes, here are lists of the parks in various cities in the Sacramento region.


If you need help landing that perfect home in the perfect neighborhood, give me a call! I will find out what you are looking for and then scope out the neighborhoods for you. Whether you are looking for an upgrade or are a first-time buyer, I can help you find the property of your dreams that will be the best fit for you and your family.


Oh, and I’ll give you a $500 gift card to Home Depot when your escrow closes. Maybe you could build your own park!