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Mental health benefits of nature should influence city planning, says UW study

Published on August 29, 2019

Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Sao Paulo, Brazil. Image Credit: Max Pixel CC0.

City planners should consider the mental health benefits of green spaces when making plans for the future of their cities.

That’s according to a new study out of University of Washington that says urban green spaces can help improve mental health. The study found that accounting for the economic impacts of these benefits might help cities prioritize investments in urban nature.

Greg Bratman, assistant professor in environmental and forest sciences at University of Washington, was the lead author on the paper, a collaboration with 25 other scientists in this emerging field of study.

“Nature experiences can have benefits for mood, memory, and emotion regulation. What are the mental health repercussions of nature experiences, or of changing a landscape from natural to urban? Those effects are not typically being taken into account,” Bratman said explaining the motivation for the study.

Over the past few decades, ecologists have used a concept called “ecosystem services” to help city planners more precisely evaluate the economic value provided by nature.

“The history of the environmental movement has been one of lose-lose battles, with the economy pitted against the environment. This is about turning that around and creating a pathway to green growth.” explains Gretchen Daily, senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University, and a co-author on the paper.


Continue reading at King5 News.

Originally written by Laura Fattaruso for King5 News.
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