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Resource Library

Nature, Health, & the Built Environment

Green Innovation in Asia's Sustainable Campus

Dr. John Spengler shares his thoughts on sustainable building features, occupant involvement, and innovations in Asia.

Climate Change, the Indoor Environment, and Health

The impact of climate change on indoor environments, affecting the health of those who live, work, study, or play in them.

Green Schools: Attributes for Health and Learning

The effects of green schools on student learning, teacher productivity, and student and teacher health.

UNSAFE: The Truth Behind Everyday Chemicals

How chemicals that surround us affect our health.

Moving Environmental Justice Indoors

The main drivers of indoor air quality in low income housing.

Environmental Conditions in Low-Income Urban Housing

Important findings related to the health of occupants in low income housing.

Long-banned Chemical Found in Yellow Dye: How Concerned Should We Be?

Dr. Aaron Bernstein speaks with FOX News Boston to weigh in.

Symposium on Urbanism, Spirituality & Well-being: Historical Precedents

The first in a series of three symposia exploring how design can support health and wellness.

Symposium on Urbanism, Spirituality & Well-being: Contemporary Trends

A symposium exploring how does the design of contemporary cities might support spiritual, physiological, and ecological well-being.

Symposium on Urbanism, Spirituality & Well-being: Future Urbanisms

A symposium exploring how design of future cities might support spiritual, physiological, and ecological well-being.

Childhood Asthma Acute Primary Care Visits, Traffic, and Traffic-Related Pollutants

This analysis of the association between traffic measures and childhood asthma in a primary care setting suggests that traffic is a contributor to less acute asthma episodes in children. 

The Natural Environments Initiative

How we can integrate natural elements into city plans to support public health.

14 Patterns of Biophilic Design

Improving health and well-being in the built environment.

The Economics of Biophilia

Why designing with nature in mind makes financial sense.

Sounding Out Environmental Health

The enduring allure of nature, and its measurable benefits to human health.

Phyto: Principles and Resources for Site Remediation and Landscape Design

Using plants to clean sites where we suspect pollution might happen, but hasn't yet.

Managing Urban Micro-Climates

This webinar explores the tradeoff between energy efficiency and comfort. 



Climate Change, Public Health, and Landscape Infrastructure

The role of the physical landscape in strategies for bolstering climate change resilience for a city in China.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees (Harvard Design Magazine)

Expores the Japanese practice of forest bathing.

Healthy Green Campus

Tips for students and administrators to reduce exposures to harmful chemicals in your everyday life.

Green Buildings and Health

The state of evidence on green building design as it relates to human health.

Why not build houses the environmentally friendly way?

Better for nature, better for business: How a green building influences the health of its occupants.

Healthy Future Cities: Scoping Conference

Creating new collaborations around healthy places.

Can a light bulb improve your health?

Thinking of light and its biological effects, rather than how it is related to vision. 

Studies on the Health Benefits of Nature (The Dirt)

Understanding the evidence pointing to the role nature plays in human health.

The Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function

Do we work smarter in green buildings?


Green public housing and health

Green public housing may reduce health risks from environmental pollutants.                                                            

Flame retardants: Why do we have them and how are they harmful?

A brief history of flame retardants in the U.S.

Is there a benefit to having flame retardants in our products?

Why flame retardant chemicals are non-essential to our safety. 

Can we choose products without flame retardants?

Updated standards allow us to make informed decisions about the products we purchase.

Flame Retardants and Health

They aren't essential to our safety, they are toxic, and they are everywhere. Why? And what can you do about it?

Better Office Air Makes for Better Thinking (Living on Earth)

Behind the scenes of our study on The Impact of Green Buildings on Cognitive Function. 

Choosing a Chemical Flame Retardant-Free Campus

Harvard becomes the first university in the nation to sign a pledge against toxic flame retardants.

Chemical Flame Retardant-Free Toolkit and Buyers Guide

Creating a healthier environment by implementing standards, working with purchasers, and holding vendors accountable.

Are You Bringing Toxic Chemicals Home from Work?

What you should know about "take home" chemicals, and how you can protect your family.

E-Cigarettes and Lung Disease

Chemicals linked with severe respiratory disease found in common e-cigarette flavors.

Transforming Cities from the Inside Out

The Atlantic's forum on what a sustainable, healthy city means in New York and around the world.

Selecting Genes to Alter an Entire (Non-human) Population: How Do We Assess The Risks?

Exploring the risks we may face as gene drive technology grows.

Building Resilient Communities

A highlight from the climate change and health forum at the Harvard Chan School.

Can Green Space Improve Our Health? (And How Do We Know?)

We explore how researchers use satellite imagery of “greenness” in studies that measure how nature can improve our health. 

Can Green Space Around Schools Improve Academic Performance?

The connection between green space and cognitive performance.

Can Green Space Help Recovery From Stroke?

The connection between patients’ survival after a stroke and the amount of green space around their homes.

Green Space and Health

A video series exploring how nature can improve academic achievement and recovery from stroke.

Student Performance and Green Space

Elementary schools with more "greenness" around them saw higher standardized test scores.

Flame Retardants and Thyroid Problems in Women

Women with elevated levels of flame retardant chemicals in their blood may be at a higher risk for thyroid disease.

Environmental Perceptions and Health Before and After Relocation to a Green Building

Does it feel better to work in a green building? 

Healthy Urban Sustainability Symposium in Shanghai

Synergies among urban planning, building design, and public health for improved urban health and livability.

'Bugs' on the Subway: Monitoring microbes to improve public health

Boston subway system covered in microbes, but they're not harmful.

Estimating Greenspace Exposure and Benefits for Cumulative Risk Assessment Applications

A summary report.

Airline Pilots and Depression, Suicidal Thoughts

Survey reveals significant number of airline pilots report depressive symptoms, suicidal thoughts.

The impact of working in a green building on cognitive function and health

Higher cognitive function scores, better sleep, and fewer health symptoms.

Toxic Chemicals Found at US E-Scrap Recycling Facilities

Serious health effects are a risk.

Living with Landscapes: The Primacy of Nature

Benefits of nature in our cities.

Stop playing whack-a-mole with hazardous chemicals

This Op-Ed explores "regrettable substituions"—the replacement of one harmful chemical by another equally or more harmful.

5 Surprising Ways Buildings Can Improve Our Health

The latest trends in green design go far beyond energy and water efficiency to improve our daily lives.

Tests Lead to Recommendations to Minimize Exposure to Alternative Dry-cleaning Chemicals

Dry cleaning chemicals may be harmful to employees who work in the dry-cleaning process.

Occupational exposures to new dry cleaning solvents

This study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, explores the impact of common dry cleaning solvents on workers' health. 

Are “Green” Dry Cleaning Solvents Bad for Our Health?

Sometimes chemicals we call “green” are better for the environment, but not always good for our health.