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Living Near Green Space Has Positive Mental Benefits

green spaceA recent study states that green spaces in urban areas have a significant, and lasting, improvement on mental health.[1] In fact, people who move to greener spaces, such as parks and gardens, experience a huge improvement in mental health.1 Even when the person moves away, that positive effect continues for quite a bit of time.1

Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School state that greener urban areas improved people’s life satisfaction and also potentially increased their lifespan.1 In their study, approximately 1,000 people were followed over a period of five years.1 Within these volunteers were two sets of people: those who moved to greener urban areas and those who moved to lesser green urban areas.1

Researchers noticed that those who resided near parks and gardens experienced an immediate enhancement in mental health that lasted for three years after they moved.1 For those surrounded by less greenery, there was a significant decline in mental health.1

Lead researcher, Dr. Ian Alcock, said, “We’ve shown that individuals who move to greener areas have significant and long-lasting improvements in mental health. These findings are important for urban planners thinking about introducing new green spaces to towns and cities, suggesting they could provide long-term and sustained benefits for local communities.”1

Co-author of the study, Dr. Mathew White, said, “We needed to answer important questions about how the effects of green space vary over time. Do people experience a novelty effect, enjoying the new green area after the move, but with the novelty then wearing off? Or do they take time to realize the benefits of their new surroundings as they gradually get to know local parks? What we’ve found suggests that they mental health benefits of green space are not only immediate, but sustainable over long periods of time.”1

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