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Living in close proximity to a green space improves your mental wellbeing and happiness

A new study from the combined Universities of Warwick, Newcastle and Sheffield has concluded that living within a close proximity to a green space improves your mental wellbeing and happiness. The study was published by  the scientific journal ‘Applied Geography’  and is titled; ‘A spatial analysis of proximate greenspace and mental wellbeing in London’ It utilised data from 25, 518 Londoners, drawn from the Government’s annual population survey and then combined these statistics and views, with existing data drawn from London’s 20,000 green spaces. The researchers show that Londoners who live within 300m of green space have significantly better mental wellbeing.

Professor João Porto de Albuquerque commented on the findings; “As part of the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nation Members States are committed to provide every access to green and public spaces for every citizen by 2030, which is usually measured based on the area of cities that is open space for public use.”However, our study makes clear that it is not only the area of public greenspace in the whole city that matters when it comes to maximising benefits for mental wellbeing” highlighting the need for a wider definition of wellbeing in academic studies and Urban planning; happiness, self worth and life satisfaction.

The geo-spatial data employs new indicators and techniques which gauge the three main aspects of wellbeing; happiness, self worth and life satisfaction instead of just one or two of these aspects. This multi-dimensional approach to wellbeing is a first of its kind  the researchers stress. Dr Victoria Houlden of Newcastle University and Professor João Porto de Albuquerque of the University of Warwick & Professor Stephen A. Jarvis, Director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Urban Science at the University of Warwick, collectively said of the study; “This is the first study to provide concrete evidence of how urban greenspaces may improve mental wellbeing in the broadest sense, and should therefore lead to healthier, happier and more productive urban landscapes in the future”

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