A Better Life When It's Green
by WaterElement on October 7, 2016 - 9:39pm
Would you believe me if I told you that mental health and wellness could be improved by some simple urban planning and better resource management? Recent research shows that you may now have a whole new appreciation for parks and paths. What once excited you during your childhood could have positive health affects regardless of age. A study by Dr. Ian Alcock, an epidemiologist (a fancy word for someone who studies patterns causes, and effects of health and disease in defined population) found drastic results. Dr. Alcock studied the mental health through the surveys from the British Household Panel from a large group of individuals for two years, before they moved to a greener urban area and looked at the data for 3 years after they moved (Bryne, 2014). The 5 years of changes of mental health was then plotted noting circumstances that promoted mental health (Bryne, 2014). The results looked at marriage, which showed short-term benefits, and even those who won the lottery, which yielded a slow gradual improvement of mental health (Bryne, 2014). Surprisingly, it was found that those who moved to greener urban areas had better immediate and sustained mental health (Bryne, 2014). I found Dr. Ian Alcock to be very well structured and concise with his point to try to help public heath with the promotion of these green urban spaces. I think it can be agreed upon that this is concrete evidence that should be shared and implemented. The state should utilize this information and influence government to potentially create policy to make it mandatory for current and future urban development. Mental health is often overlooked into as a factor for design but this research may put more light on topic with this strong evidence. This sparks the conversation of why isn’t this implemented everywhere? I believe the phrase “all good things do come at a cost” is also very true with this issue. Where would the funding come from to create initiatives for green spaces? Some places lack the green space possibly due to lack of space, which in that case I imagine it would be very costly to incorporate green space when there is no room. Usually economic benefit is the driving force behind construction of new ideas. Each location will be on a case-by-case basis and it may be tough to create policy when parks and increased greenery have a significant cost of maintenance. So I ask myself, at what amount of money will equate to better mental health? I invite you to ask yourself the same.
Bryne, M. (2014, January 5). Green Spaces Deliver Lasting Mental Health Benefits [Video file].
Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMPpPAR_itM