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For instance, we are safer when rivers have more room during floods and floodwaters can disperse and slow down rather than rise, rage and threaten communities.

Along our coasts, natural features like sand dunes and marshes or coral reefs and oyster reefs reduce wave heights, absorb storm surges and help stop erosion.

Recent studies demonstrate that green spaces in urban areas may actually decrease violent and property crimes in neighborhoods.

The presence of nearby natural areas and green spaces appears to strengthen social ties among neighbors by encouraging the use of common spaces.

Strong community relationships increase the likelihood that individuals will work together to achieve common goals, exchange information, and maintain informal social controls, which leads to cleaner and safer public spaces, less crime, and can have a positive impact on public health.

Nature-based solutions use natural systems, mimic natural processes, or work in tandem with traditional approaches to address these specific hazards. population lives in counties where federally-declared, weather-related disasters have occurred since 2010.

Communities across the country— along rivers or coasts, large or small, rural or urban— can incorporate nature-based solutions in local planning, zoning, regulations, and built projects to help reduce their exposure to flood and erosion impacts. Smart nature-based solutions provide multiple benefits, giving communities high returns on their investments in flood risk reduction strategies.

A similar survey of an urban California community found 90% of property crimes occurred in areas without vegetation.

In Chicago, a study found residents reported fewer incidents of illegal activity in places containing urban nature.

A related study in Philadelphia found study participants who walked by a ‘greened’ vacant lot showed decreased heart rate, a sign of reduced stress, compared to a control group.

The trees and vegetation in natural areas and green spaces improve water quality and air quality, particularly in larger cities, which has been connected to lower rates of asthma and wheezing in urban populations.

Improved water quality can boost tourism and recreation or reduce costs at water treatment facilities.

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