Green spaces within urban conglomerate cities boost wellbeing

The green spaces such as parks, gardens within the concrete jungle of cities have a positive impact on the people living nearby. A recent research carried on the subject of how important is green space to people for better or worse in cities by Mathew P. White and colleagues of the European Center for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter in Truro –Cornwall wrote about their findings in a paper. This paper is due to be published online this week in the Journal “Psychological Science” suggests that green space that included gardens produced happier urban dwellers.

Other studies have also discovered the connection between green space and better mental health on people living near the green spaces. White’s study was undertaken to measure the actual effects of the green space on individual’s mental health and happiness. White and his colleagues described how they examined the data from the national survey that followed the United Kingdom households for a time and even after taking into account differences in income, marital status, employment, physical health, and type of housing. These factors resulted in finding out that city dwellers reported higher life satisfaction and less mental distress when they lived in greener areas.

Previous studies undertaken on this subject already revealed or suggested a strong link between the living in or near greener areas and wellbeing. For Instance, one research from Netherlands assessed how the GP (General Practitioners)-Classified illnesses related to green spaces in their patient’s living environment showed green spaces are linked to better health, better mental health in particular. While another analysis of ten UK Studies found a dose-response relationship between spending time in green spaces to better mental health.

However, much of the earlier evidences linking green spaces to better health and well-being were unable to conclude whether living in greener areas influences wellbeing or whether people with greater wellbeing tend to move to greener areas. Therefore, White and his colleagues overcame this limitation by looking data gathered from the repeated observations of over 18 years that were collected every year from 1991 to 2008 from over 5,000 households with about 10,000 adults taking part in the British Household Panel Survey. He and his colleagues estimated that the effect of living in greener urban areas is about one-tenth of the impact of having a job. White further explains that their findings do not prove that moving to greener areas increases people’s happiness and it is consistent with experiments that shows spending short periods in greener spaces improve mood and thinking skills.

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