Safer Places To Play

Intuitively, children playing at home or in parks on a natural surface like turf-grass are less likely to be hurt in a fall than when it happens on artificial surfaces like asphalt or concrete. But the issue of safety in urban areas is a broader one.  

A study by the Human Environment Research Laboratory proved that when people are in contact with nature, violence levels within inner-city neighbourhoods are reduced. The study shows levels of aggression were significantly lower among people who had parks with plants, or any type of nature outside of their residence against those who did not.

Communities that choose to clean up their parks and beautify crime-ridden neighbourhoods have less crime and fewer criminals to deal with. When residents feel a greater pride in the beauty of where they live, they are less likely to detract from it by endangering people through acts of aggression or committing acts of vandalism like graffiti.

Parks help to bring neighbours together and can inspire them to increase local activism, to work together for what they know is important and beneficial for their community.   

Plants Love You™ by helping to create safer places to play and live.

To find a garden centre, nursery, sod grower or landscaper:


Chon, J.H. and C.S. Shafer. 2009. Aesthetic responses to urban greenway trail environments. Landscape Res. 34:83-104.

Donovan, G.H. and J.P. Prestemon. 2010. The effect of trees on crime in Portland, Oregon. Environment and Behavior. doi: 10.1177/0013916510383238.

Gorham, M.R., T.M. Waliczek, A. Snelgrove, and J.M. Zajicek. 2009. The impact of community gardens on numbers of property crimes in urban Houston. HortTechnology 19:291-296.

Kuo, F.E. 2003. The role of arboriculutre in a healthy social ecology. J. Aboriculture 29:148-155.

Kuo, F.E. 2004. Horticulture, well-being, and mental health: From intuitions to evidence. Expanding Roles for Horticulture in Improving Human Well-Being and Life Quality, p. 27-34.

Kuo, F.E., M. Bacaicoa, and W.C. Sullivan. 1998. Transforming inner-city landscapes – trees, sense of safety, and preference. Environment and Behavior 30:28-59.

Kuo, F.E. and W.C. Sullivan. 2001. Environment and crime in the inner city – does vegetation reduce crime? Environment and Behavior 33:343-367.

Kuo, F.E., W.C. Sullivan, R.L. Coley, and L. Brunson. 1998. Fertile ground for community: Inner-city neighborhood common spaces. American Journal of Community Psychology 26:823-851.

Landscape and Human Health Laboratory. 2003. How cities use parks to create safer neighborhoods. American Planning Association. htm.Accessed December 15, 2010.

Sullivan, W.C., F.E. Kuo, and S.F. DePooter. 2004. The fruit of urban nature – vital neighborhood spaces. Environment and Behavior 36:678-700.

Zampini, J.W. 1992. Down to earth benefits of people-plant interactions in our community. HortTechnology 2:177-179.

Charles R. Hall, Madeline W. Dickson. 2011. Economic, Environmental, and Health/Well-Being Benefits Associated with Green Industry Products and Services: A Review. 

Beauty   Environment   Health and Quality of Life   Economic