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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Treehugger Tuesday

From the website Earther:

The Potential of Green Urban Planning for Mental Health
by Robin George Andrews
Friday 10:50AM

There is no single solution to the world-wide epidemic of poor mental health; addressing its root causes—like poverty-triggered stress and social isolation—and choosing effective treatment for sufferers remains paramount. One way to potentially partly buffer against the effects of poor mental health is through contact with nature, including the green spaces within metropolises.

This is an emerging area of research with plenty of unanswered questions attached, but there is a not-insignificant number of studies pointing to this being a measurable, important effect.

“Green space is an agent of public health, one that can build and sustain mental wellbeing,” Jenny Roe, an environmental psychologist at the University of Virginia, told Earther.

That’s why she’s part of a team that wants to not just quantify the effect that natural spaces have on mental health, but to also frame it in a way that forms part of designs for cities.

Neighborhood architects, engineers, and policymakers look at all kinds of factors and needs when building a city, including transportation links, housing, aesthetics, amenities, and so forth. Natural spaces are also considered, for their aesthetic, recreational, and ecological benefits. A study published in July in Science Advances outlines a model that will let policymakers see nature’s impacts on psychological wellbeing in much the same way.

The relationship between nature, mental health, and general psychological well being is still tenuous but a subject of much research, and for now, the framework designed to encapsulate these connections is merely a concept. But if the benefits of green spaces on mental health become clearer over time, then this framework certainly has potential.

“Any work that can help to better inform the people who are really designing the cities of the future is really welcome,” Russell Galt, the Director of the Urban Alliance, told Earther...

Read the entire article here.

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