Michigan State University is putting a $3.3 million federal grant toward exploring how reviving Detroit parks can improve the health of its residents.
Researchers from the East Lansing school are using the National Institutes of Health grant to run a five-year study. They will assess the health of 700 residents in low-income areas while the city and Audubon Society restore unmaintained parks.
Researchers say studies have suggested parks might reduce stress and increase physical activity. However, the cause-and-effect relationship between parks and health has been hard to establish.
Park maintenance had been a casualty of budget cuts in the city in recent decades. The research team's goals not only include boosting health, but also providing evidence to city officials about the value of investing in parks and other public spaces.