Green Spaces Promote Happier Communities

Scientific American

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A better mood might be as easy as a walk in the park. Literally. Because people living near parks or gardens seem to have a leg up.

UK researchers analyzed data from a national survey of more than 10,000 people between 1991 through to 2008. They found that those who live in green areas have higher life satisfaction and less depression and stress than others who live in more concrete-dense areas with few trees and lawns. This trend held even if residents experienced changes in their income, marital status and health.

The researchers were able to compare the effect of living in green areas to the influence of other life events. For instance living near or within green areas had nearly 30 percent of the same positive impact on life satisfaction as one gets by being married (as opposed to being unmarried.) And green space had around 20% of the same impact on life satisfaction as one gets by being employed (rather than unemployed.)

The researchers say that the benefits for any one person might be small but that the potential positives of a green space for a community could be substantial.

—Christie Nicholson

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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