FunNature & AnimalGreen spaces in cities increase our happiness

Green spaces in cities increase our happiness

A new study published in the journal PloS One on urban nature makes a refreshing conclusion: visiting green spaces in cities can improve our mood . And not only this: a team of scientists from the University of Vermont discovered that the bigger the city park, the more happiness it will bring us.

The researchers measured the happiness effects of urban parks in the 25 largest cities in the United States and found that the benefit of urban nature on users was roughly equivalent to the mood boost that people experience when the weather arrives . Christmas or New Year’s Day.

Experts used massive amounts of data mined from social media to quantify the mood-enhancing benefits of urban nature. They used Twitter locations and geolocation data to quantify the happiness benefit people get from nature. They focused on the 25 largest cities in the US . by population and included 1.5 million posts on Twitter to measure their feelings about it.

“These new findings underscore how essential nature is to our mental and physical health,” says co-author Taylor Ricketts, adding, “The results are timely given our increased reliance on urban natural areas during the COVID-19 pandemic. “.

The researchers found a powerful happiness benefit from city parks, which was present across all seasons , months, weeks, days, and times of day. Any variable still contained this positive effect on users’ mood.

“We understand the irony of using Twitter and technology to measure nature’s happiness,” Aaron Schwartz, co-author of the paper, “but our goal is to use technology for a greater good: to better understand the effect nature has on humans.” , which until now has been difficult to quantify in such large quantities.”

Of course, not all parks and gardens bring us the same amount of happiness. “However, not all parks seem to be the same when it comes to happiness. The ability to immerse yourself in larger, greener natural areas had a greater effect than smaller paved urban parks ,” the authors conclude.

Referencia: 
Oh-Hyun Kwon, Inho Hong, Jeasurk Yang, Donghee Y. Wohn, Woo-Sung Jung, Meeyoung Cha. Urban green space and happiness in developed countries. EPJ Data Science, 2021; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1140/epjds/s13688-021-00278-7
Aaron J. Schwartz ,  et al. Gauging the happiness benefit of US urban parks through Twitter. Published: March 30, 2022  PLOS ONE. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0261056

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