Graffiti, Greenery, and Health

Anne Ellaway, Sally Macintyre, and Xavier Bonnefoy employed a cross sectional study on the relationship between obesity, green space, and graffiti or general vandalism across multiple European countries and cities. This survey found astonishing, dramatic results on the influences of built environment and it’s relationship with the general health and obesity levels of a community. According to the results of respondents to the survey, a “healthy” environment with available green space correlated with the likelihood of obesity being 40% less likely. On the opposite end of this coin however, residents who lived in environments with “incivilities” had a likelihood of being obese 50% higher in comparison. This study provides incredible evidence and support to my argument, as it scientifically reports a direct correlation between vandalism within a community and destructive health habits for it’s residents. The idea of graffiti objectively degrading the quality of life of the civilians sharing the space it occupies was an incredibly difficult claim to support adequately before I found solid number based evidence such as this to back the idea. Although this work mentions nothing of purposefully placed and approved street art and only graffiti instead, I do not believe it is a far stretch to assume the conditions found within less healthy communities could also be classified as dangerous. This connection is incredibly important to the support of sanctioned street art, as it would establish a definitive line regarding the societal perceptions of urban art/design and whether or not it is seen positively in comparison to graffiti.

Ellaway, A. “Graffiti, greenery, and obesity in adults: secondary analysis of European cross sectional survey.” Bmj 331.7517 (2005): 611-12. Web. <http://www.bmj.com/content/bmj/331/7517/611.full.pdf>.

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