With an aging population, an increased burden is put on national and regional healthcare and social systems. In Sweden, municipalities are required to provide inhabitants with the social services needed to enable them to live an independent life in their own home for as long as possible. Urban green spaces (UGS) may increase physical activity and social interaction, as well as improve wellbeing and health. For older people, UGS close to the residency could thus be a protective factor, improving their possibility to live an independent life without any need of social services. The aim of the study was to evaluate the potential association of neighborhood UGS and use of social services in an older population. All inhabitants 65 years or older living in the urban areas of the two Swedish cities Malmö or Kristianstad in 2015 (n = 42707 were included in this register-based repeated cross-sectional study. The possible associations between UGS (total, publicly available and quiet; exposure) with 300 m from the residency, determined using Geographical information systems (GIS), and use of social services (outcome) were investigated adjusting for individual and area sociodemographic factors. Although the positive effect of UGS on health is well established, no consistent associations between UGS and use of social services were found, nor did stratified analyses reveal any clear differences in the effect of urban green on social service use between sociodemographic groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100448
JournalEnvironmental Advances
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Work

Free keywords

  • Ageing
  • GIS
  • Public health
  • Register study
  • Social service use
  • Urban green space


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