"Nearly all studies investigating the effects of natural environments on human health are focused on the amount of a community's green space," said the researchers.
"We found that the shape or form of green space has an important role in this association," they added in the study published in The Lancet Planetary Health.
In the study, researchers performed statistical analyses of Philadelphia land cover data to assess links between landscape spatial metrics and health outcomes.
They found that residents in census tracts with more connected, aggregated, and complex-shaped green spaces had a lower mortality risk.
"Our results suggest that linking existing parks with greenways or adding new, connected parks might be fiscally accessible strategies for promoting health," said Huaquing Wang, a Ph.D. Urban and Regional Sciences student and Lou Tassinary, professor of visualisation.
Researchers explained that the complexity in the shape of the park was positively associated with lower mortality risk.
"This association might be attributable to the increased number of access points provided by complex-shaped green spaces," they continued.
While lower mortality risk wasn't associated with any particular form, the data supports the idea that the more complex the park shape, the better, Wang said.
The relationship between park shape and mortality is important to city designers and planners who seek to create healthier living environments, they said in the paper.