Frances E. Kuo, Director



Past Research

on green landscaping and...

ADHD Symptoms in Kids Across the U.S.

Inner City Girls & Self-discipline

Coping in the Inner City

Inner City Crime

Domestic Violence in the Inner City

Building Strong Inner City Communities


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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences    




Where Trees are Planted, Communities Grow

Residential common areas with trees and other greenery help to build strong neighborhoods. In a study conducted at a Chicago public housing development, residents of buildings with more trees and grass reported that they knew their neighbors better, socialized with them more often, had stronger feelings of community, and felt safer and better adjusted than did residents of more barren, but otherwise identical, buildings.

How can we explain this link between landscaping and stronger ties between residents and their neighborhood? When the spaces next to residences are green, they are both more attractive and more comfortable, drawing people to them. Such settings support frequent, friendly interaction among neighbors--the foundation of neighborhood social ties. These ties are the heart of a neighborhood’s strength, encouraging neighbors to help and protect each other. Sharing resources with and depending upon neighbors may be especially crucial to impoverished inner-city families, so it is especially important to plant and maintain trees in such neighborhoods.

The information here is from the original scientific article:
Kuo, F.E., Sullivan, W.C., Coley, R.L., & Brunson, L. (1998). Fertile ground for community: Inner-city neighborhood common spaces. American Journal of Community Psychology, 26(6), 823-851.

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More questions? Contact Frances E. Kuo ( at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Landscape and Human Health Laboratory, 1101 W. Peabody Drive, Urbana, Illinois 61801.


This research was supported by the University of Illinois and by the USDA Forest Service Urban and Community Forestry Program on the recommendation of the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory Council.