Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Green spaces may boost wellbeing for city dwellers

Date:
April 22, 2013
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
New research has found that people living in urban areas with more green space tend to report greater wellbeing than city dwellers that don't have parks, gardens, or other green space nearby.

New research published in the journal Psychological Science has found that people living in urban areas with more green space tend to report greater wellbeing than city dwellers that don't have parks, gardens, or other green space nearby.

The research has been led by Dr Mathew White from the University of Exeter Medical School's European Centre for Environment & Human Health, in Truro, Cornwall.

By examining data from a national survey that followed UK households over time, Dr White and colleagues at the European Centre have found that individuals reported less mental distress and higher life satisfaction when they were living in greener areas.

Importantly, this association held even after the researchers accounted for changes over time in participants' income, employment, marital status, physical health, and housing type.

Dr White and colleagues were surprised by the scale of the effects of living in a greener area in comparison to 'big hitting' life events, such as marriage: "We've found that living in an urban area with relatively high levels of green space can have a significantly positive impact on wellbeing, roughly equal to a third of the impact of being married."

This effect is also equivalent to a tenth of the impact of being employed (vs unemployed).

The results show that even when stacked up against other factors that contribute to life satisfaction, living in a greener area has a significant effect.

"These kinds of comparisons are important for policymakers when trying to decide how to invest scarce public resources, such as for park development or upkeep, and figuring out what 'bang' they'll get for their buck" said Dr White.

Findings from previous studies have suggested a correlation between green space and wellbeing, but those studies were not able to rule out the possibility that people with higher levels of wellbeing simply move to greener areas. Dr White and colleagues were able to solve that problem by using longitudinal data (data gathered from the repeated observation of participants over time) from the national survey, with data collected annually from over 10,000 people between 1991 and 2008.

The new research does not prove that moving to a greener area will necessarily cause increased happiness, but it does fit with findings from experimental studies showing that short bouts of time in a green space can improve people's mood and cognitive functioning.

While the effect for any one person might be small, Dr White points out that the potential positive effects of green space for society at large might be substantial.

"This research could be important for psychologists, public health officials and urban planners who are interested in learning about the effects that urbanisation and city planning can have on population health and wellbeing" Dr White concludes.

Co-authors on this research include Dr Ian Alcock, Dr Benedict Wheeler, and Professor Michael Depledge of the University of Exeter Medical School.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Green spaces may boost wellbeing for city dwellers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130422101303.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2013, April 22). Green spaces may boost wellbeing for city dwellers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130422101303.htm
University of Exeter. "Green spaces may boost wellbeing for city dwellers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130422101303.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins