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Medium-Density Urban Areas Pose Higher Depression Risks than High-Density Areas in Denmark

In a recent study published in Science Advances by Tzu-Hsin Karen Chen, a BERTHA researcher and her team examined the relationship between urban environments and depression risk. Using satellite imagery and machine learning, researchers analysed the three-dimensional urban form, focusing on building density and height changes over time. The study found that medium-density urban areas posed a higher risk of depression compared to high-density areas. After considering socioeconomic factors, the highest risk was observed in sprawling suburbs, while the lowest risk was found in multi-story buildings with nearby open spaces. These findings emphasise the importance of prioritising access to open space in densely built areas during spatial land-use planning. By integrating open spaces into urban design, policymakers can potentially mitigate depression risks and promote mental well-being. The study highlights the significance of considering specific urban characteristics when studying mental health outcomes. Further research and informed urban planning strategies could lead to better mental health outcomes for residents in cities. Link to the Article: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.adf3760