Proximity to Nature

There’s so much “gloom & doom” in the media, with increased trends in mass shootings, in rainforest fires, in climate-related disasters, etc. that it’s refreshing to see a research report that looks at the positive side of “sustainable living” … which means living 100% with what Earth brings to your home site – which, technically, isn’t actually all that difficult – and it also means enjoying a better quality-of-life experience.  Here’s some relevant research for living a happier life.

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The Closer You Live To Nature The Happier You’ll Be, Study Finds

 

2 September 2019

Applied Geography

John Anderer

 

LONDON — If you’re on the lookout for a new apartment or home in a big city, try and find a place near a park or nature reserve. According to a new study, living within walking distance to an urban green space is associated with improved feelings of happiness, self-worth, and overall life satisfaction.

Researchers from The University of Warwick, Newcastle University, and The University of Sheffield have put together the first study ever to investigate and demonstrate the connection between natural, green areas and mental wellbeing on an individual level. Interestingly, they discovered that:

 

“Living close to nature and greenery is

more relevant to mental health than income

level, employment, and overall health.”

 

The study’s authors are hopeful that their findings will be considered by city planners and other policy makers in the future when considering the creation of additional green spaces in cities and other urban areas.

Previous research has already established that people generally feel better after getting out and experiencing some nature and green foliage. However, the authors of this study wanted to identify just how much green space is needed, and how close it should be to a person’s home, in order for it to have a positive impact on mental health.

So, they applied new geospatial research techniques to gauge the relationship between green views of nature and three aspects of mental wellbeing; happiness, self-worth, and life satisfaction.

Comments Dr. Victoria Houlden in a media release …

 

“We believe this is the first study to demonstrate

how urban green spaces may improve a broader

definition of mental wellbeing. A lot of research

focuses on poor mental health, or single aspects

of wellbeing like life satisfaction. What makes

our work different is the way we consider multi-

dimensional mental wellbeing, in terms of

happiness, life satisfaction and worth.”

 

Researchers utilized data collected on 25,518 Londoners from the government’s Annual Population Survey. This information, combined with data on London’s 20,000 public green spaces, allowed the research team to explore just how much proximity to greenery influenced the mental wellbeing of the survey respondents.

 

Overall, they found a strong relationship

between the amount of greenery near a

person’s home and their mental health,

and green spaces located within 300

meters — about .18 of a mile — of an

individual’s home had the biggest impact.

 

For example, an increase of just under 2.5 acres of greenery within 300 meters of a person’s home was associated with an eight percentage point increase in life satisfaction, a seven percentage point increase in self-worth, and a five percentage point increase in happiness.

 

“This result has important implications

for urban planning and decision making

related to how we measure access to

urban green spaces and how to design

more sustainable and liveable cities,”

 

… explains Professor João Porto de Albuquerque, director of the University of Warwick’s Institute of Global Sustainable Development.

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Trees calm and ground humans. This study just confirms how important being near trees and putting your feet on Earth – versus concrete – is required for humans. The more you can make your home have greenery in it, as well as having access to nature outside of it, the calmer your neuro-system will be.

As you’ve likely seen, our Garden Atrium Net Zero sustainable homes, have a Great Room in their center that’s filled with many plants … a lush garden. But even small potted plants in each room of a traditional home will have a positive effect on your quality-of-life experience.

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