Dr. Ian Alcock describes his latest research that has found green spaces in towns and cities create immediate and long lasting improvements in people’s mental health.
These findings have significance for urban planning policy which might aim to help improve public health through the development of green spaces in urban areas.
The research followed people for 2 years living in urban areas before moving to a greener environment, and then were tracked for 3 more years. The results showed immediate and long-lasting positive affects on mental health after the relocation. A number of different positive life changes were also compared. Take for instance, when someone gets married, their mental health improves but only in the short term as it quickly goes back to close to where it was before they got married. Moving to greener urban areas showed sustained positive mental health changes, which should place more of an emphasis on adding parks to our cities as well as encouraging us to get out and spend more time in green areas, no matter where we live.