A recent study says that parks, gardens and green space in urban areas boost the well being of the people living around. The study used data from around 5000 houses in the UK over a period of about 17 years. A green area has a significant positive effect on the people living around it.

The findings are likely to have a large effect on society at large as this information will effect urban planning significantly.

The researchers followed more than 5000 households and 10,000 adults between 1991 and 2008 as they moved house around different parts of the country. The participants were asked to report on their mental health during that time so that the ‘green space effect’ could be estimated.

Most individuals reported higher life satisfaction and less mental distress even when other factors were counted in such as income, employment, marital status, physical health and the type of housing that they were living in.

The scale of effects of living in greener areas is so big it can be compared to ‘big-hitting’ life events such as marriage and is said to be about the same as a 10th of the impact of being employed compared to unemployed.

While the conscious effect for an individual might be quite small, the overall effect on society at large is substantial.

The information manager for the mental health charity ‘mind’ said, “For people living busy lifestyles in densely populated areas, being able to get outdoors and access green space is a great way to escape the stresses of day-to-day life.”

What could be better than sitting in a green oasis in the middle of a busy town or city? Being able to take some time to relax, listen to the bird song and enjoy your surroundings. These findings will hopefully have an important and positive effect on urban planning, and make sure that green space is always factored in.