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 


I thought that this post was well written and very informative. I was drawn to it because of your intriguing title. I was interested to know why life is better when its green. I never thought about green space having much influence on mental health and wellness. I think it is very interesting that people who moved to greener urban areas showed immediate benefits. In that case, I do think green space should be of a priority in urban areas. Though, I do understand that sometimes there is just no funding and I do think that a lot of people would not necessarily rank it high on their priority lists. I also understand that some areas just seem to have no room for green spaces. I do know that some cities have big buildings with grass roofs, which promote the reduction of air pollution. I think with the limitation of space in developed cities, the use of building roofs could help solve the problem of "no space". I would assume that the implementation of grass roofs would benefit mental health as well. I think you should definitely look into cities that are implementing this to help prove your point.

The title of this post instantly caught my attention and the fact that it discusses mental health kept me reading. With personally dealing with and having seen others deal with mental health, it is great to see that resource management is doing something to help. It is not surprising to me that location influences ones mental health. This may not be true for some individuals, but for most I feel living in certain places would definitely affect them either negatively or positively. I agree with your point of why isn't this implemented everywhere. I believe that if this idea of more green space was established primarily in schooling and in work environments that it would exceed at a faster rate. For example with schools, if children received more outdoor time in a more luscious and fun environment, I believe there moods would instantly change for the better. This mood change would be seen by parents and hopefully then expand to schools everywhere. If enough awareness is caught, fundraising could take place to help with finances. Less industrialization and more green space is better not only for our mental health but for the environment. If this improvement associated with schools is beneficial, companies and corporations may decide to do the same for their employees. Maybe by creating outdoor seating near gardens for lunch times instead of eating in a cubicle. If studies were done on children and adults to compare those with less or more outdoor time, this would too be beneficial for creating and implementing more green space. It is important to look at the younger generation when it comes to this issue of mental health. In a world where infrastructure is constant, this idea of more green space is very important.

Hi there,
I found your post to be very interesting and informative. The topic of mental health is very important and it's fascinating how a change in environmental settings can have an effect on it. As someone who would call being in nature "my happy place", I completely understand how the simplicity of nature can help someone's mental health and remove them from our technology obsessed world we currently live in. By including more green spaces in urban areas it could prove to have positive results in people's mental health. Just going for a walk or spending time with family or friends outside can promote mental wellness. The only issue I can see here is that as you mentioned, the main reason for development in urban areas is for economic profit and creating a park won't necessarily do that. I think finding cities that are using green spaces to better their citizens would be a great way to support your post!!

The title of your blog instantly caught my eye! I could instantly relate to your title which made me want to read it. There are so many to pick from in this combined online class. This was very well written in my opinion. Your sentences flowed nicely from one to the next without confusion. I sometimes find myself getting lost in research papers, this was not the case with yours. The research you used in your paper gave great information and very accurate. Your opinion was very strong through out this piece. You used direct statements which made your opinion very clear. I like the way you concluded your paper. “ I’ll invite you to ask yourself the same”, this is a great way to end. Great paper!