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    




Adding Trees Makes Life More Manageable

In a study conducted in a Chicago public housing development, women who lived in apartment buildings with trees and greenery immediately outside reported greater effectiveness and less procrastination in dealing with their major life issues than those living in barren but otherwise identical buildings. In addition, the women in greener surroundings found their problems to be less difficult and of shorter duration. Thus it seems that trees help poor inner city residents cope better with the demands of living in poverty, feel more hopeful about the future, and manage their most important problems more effectively.

How can we explain this link between vegetation and better coping? The women who reported better coping had better scores on a test of concentration, and living in a greener home was also linked to having better scores on that same test. Dr. Frances E. Kuo has proposed that exposure to green surroundings refreshes the ability to concentrate, leading to greater effectiveness at coping with major life issues. And, in this study, even small amounts of greenery—a few trees and a patch of grass—helped inner city residents to feel and do better.


The information here is from the original scientific article:

Kuo, F.E. (2001). Coping with poverty: Impacts of environment and attention in the inner city. Environment & Behavior, 33(1), 5-34.

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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.