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Parks can have long-lasting positive effect

5th February 2014

A journal, appearing in Environmental Science and Technology suggests that urban green spaces are good for people’s mental well-being. UK researchers found that it had a sustained positive effect and efforts should be taken to maintain their place within an urban environment.

Urban Park

Co-author Dr. Matthew White, from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health at the University of Exeter,  explained that the study built on the findings of the Understanding Society Survey, suggested people living in greener urban areas were displaying fewer signs of adverse effects. The survey, compiled by the University of Essex asked 40,000 people questions including a 'General Health Questionnaire’, which is used by clinicians and doctors to diagnose depression and anxiety disorders.



The results limit the positive impact of parks to a reduction of stress-levels which in-turn can affect other factors. This can have a longer timescale than other things people do to make themselves happier. For example: striving for promotion at work, pay rises, marriage - these things are not sustainable. According to the research, even subjects who won the lottery felt their lives go back to status quo after a year.


The research has brought up the question of: ‘who should be responsible for providing further funding for the maintenance of parks?’. Dr White and his team feel they have enough information to warrant a further investigation and have since submitted an application for further funding, to look at correlation between divorce rates, levels of satisfaction and proximity to urban parks.


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