Do Greener Cities Improve Residents’ Wellbeing?

green spaceVery recently the website was able to report on the findings that well-maintained vegetation can help to suppress certain types of criminal activity in urban areas and cities. And yet more research in the journal Psychological Science has now reiterated that the idea that greener surroundings, particularly in towns and cities, can affect a significant improvement on the way we think, feel and behave.

The study paper was led by Dr Mathew White, who is a lecturer in risk and health at the University of Exeter Medical School’s European Centre for Environment and Human Health, and it has shown that people who live in urban areas where there is better access to green spaces like gardens and parks naturally experience a better overall wellbeing than those who live in urban areas that don’t have the same levels. The study draws its conclusions from the analysis of data that was collected in a national survey from households in the United Kingdom between 1991 and 2008.

The authors of  explained that, while a number of previous studies have looked at the association between the mental health and wellbeing of city and town dwellers and their proximity to green spaces, they had so far all been cross-sectional, looking at a large number of people at a single point in time.

“We cannot tell from those studies whether green space improves mental health or if people with better mental health – perhaps because they are richer or have more stable personalities – tend to move to greener areas,” Dr White went on.

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