Health and the Urban Environment: A Bibliometric Mapping of Knowledge Structure and Trends

The literature on the urban environment and physical and psychological health has steadily increased over the last decade. This paper aims to offer a better understanding of the state of the literature on assessing the urban environment and mental health by mapping the field of research through a scoping review and illuminating emerging trends and future research using bibliometric analysis. Uniquely, this study drew 495 articles from four distinct journal databases (PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and ProQuest), whereas traditional bibliometric analyses draw from a single source. The results show trends of a consistent increase in research on the topic over the last decade. Research published on this topic is fragmented with a consistent but isolated focus on physical health, mental health, and environmental characteristics. Overall, most attention has been given to assessing the impacts of urban environments on physical activity and general health, while less research has focused on mental health assessments and urban environments. This study concludes by highlighting gaps and making recommendations for future research in the field. Prominent gaps are related to using interdisciplinary and scalable approaches to understanding the relationship between urban environments and mental health.