Key Benefits of Urban Greenery on Mental Health

By path2positive

Greenery is good for you. And we're not just talking about eating your vegetables. A recent study by the University of Exeter Medical School, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, found that urban greenery has a tremendously positive impact on the mental health of the individuals experiencing it. You can see why this speaks to the potential for climate solutions as a way to help relieve society's mental struggles. From stress, anxiety and depression to increases in violence and aggression and loss of community identity, ecoAmerica's research reveals there many psychological impacts of climate change. Mental health professionals have good reason to engage in discussions about climate and health.

Does Urban Greenery Improve our Health? I March 12, 2015

By Tracey Romero, Sports Medicine Editor

Can the fact that you live on a tree-lined street or that you are within a few minutes’ walk from a park impact your physical and mental health? This question has drawn a lot of interest in recent years, especially with the concerns of climate change, pollution and overpopulation, and it is undeniable that more and more research points to strong connections between urban greenery and public health.

One study of note by the University of Exeter Medical School, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, found that parks and greenery do have a big impact on the mental health of nearby residents. They examined 1,000 participants who had either moved to a greener urban area or to one with less greenery and found, according to lead author Ian Alcock, “that individuals who move to greener areas have significant and long-lasting improvements in mental health.”

Urban greenery’s impact on memory and mood was the subject of a study at the University of Michigan where they found that students who walked through an urban arboretum were found to score higher than those students who walked on city streets.

Many other studies also have been coming to the similar conclusion that we need to pay more attention to the importance of greenery in our urban landscapes. A review of academic studies by Danish researchers for the International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration found that: “The direct health benefits for which we found evidence on positive effects included psychological wellbeing, reduced obesity, reduced stress, self-perceived health, reduced headache, better mental health…reduced cardiovascular symptoms and reduced mortality from respiratory disorders.”

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