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Nature

Happy green living

May 22nd, 2013
in:Nature
by:Itai Lahat
located in:United Kingdom
tags:environment, green architecture

At times, living green can have the simplest meaning and tremendous effects. You don’t necessarily need to have photovoltaic or wind turbines installed in order to enjoy the power of nature. Sometimes just living around green makes your life happier.

This common knowledge is now supported by scientific evidence. A new study carried out over 18 years, and involving over 10,000 participants in the UK, has found that living near parks and other urban green spaces can be beneficial for mental wellbeing. In short, it can make people happier.

Researchers from the University of Exeter gathered survey data about the life satisfaction and mental distress of participants, and matched the results to a map showing where parks and other green areas were. The study found that people living near parks and green areas, and those who moved to such areas, were on the whole more satisfied with life and experienced less mental distress than those who didn’t.

 “Our analyses suggest that people are happier when living in urban areas with greater amounts of green space” writes the lead researcher Mathew White. “Compared to instances when they live in areas with less green space they show significantly lower mental distress and significantly higher wellbeing ”.

These findings, along with those from similar studies, may be something for city planners to seriously consider. Global urbanization will bring 70% of the world’s growing population to live in cities by 2050. It makes a lot of sense to help these people to be happier by providing decent amounts of urban green space in every city.

The researchers conclude: “The analysis also made it possible to compare the beneficial effects of green space with other factors which influence wellbeing. In comparative terms, living in an area with higher levels of green space was associated with improvements in our wellbeing indicators roughly equal to a third of that gained from being married or a tenth as large as being employed vs. unemployed”.

See Dr. Mathew White speak about the results here...

Image: Tiergarten (Manfred Brückels, 2005). Licensed under Wiki Commons

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Itai Lahat
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