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. The researchers note,
Our analyses suggest that people are happier when living in urban areas with greater amounts of green space. Compared to instances when they live in areas with less green space they show significantly lower mental distress (GHQ scores) and significantly higher wellbeing (life satisfaction).
These findings, along with those from similar studies, may be something for city planners to seriously consider. As we reported recently, with the “megatrend” of global urbanization, 70% of the world’s growing population is expected 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, doesn’t it?