We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. Accept | Find out more


Lawn Party

Urban green spaces can keep you from feeling blue

Author Jacqueline Detwiler


Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York’s Central Park and father of American landscape architecture, was a big believer in the restorative powers of urban greenery, once saying, “We want a ground to which people may easily go when the day’s work is done … where they shall, in effect, find the city put far away from them.”

But does just living near parks and gardens increase your life satisfaction? Recent research from the University of Exeter’s European Centre for Environment & Human Health suggests it might.

The scientists assessed the amount of green space (i.e., parks and gardens) across England and then compared it against various psychological measures in 10,000 people across 18 years. Even controlling for factors like income, education, marital status and local crime, they found that a 25 percent increase in green space within 1.5 square miles of a person’s home increased life satisfaction by 1 percent and decreased mental distress by 5 percent. Data on how many squirrels got into the roses again were conspicuously absent.

Leave your comments