A team of researchers from the Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom found that beautiful and scenic landscapes can have a positive influence on the health and outlook of individuals.
The theory is true even in urban, rural and suburban areas in England, experts said. The amount of greenery in a place does not automatically give off a scenic effect. Researchers said that seeing blues, browns and grays in an area can also radiate positive effects.
Researchers Chanuki Seresinhe, Suzy Moat and Tobias Preis gathered data from Scenic-Or-Not, a website which asked people to rate the "scenicness" of more than 212,000 geotagged images showing landscapes across Great Britain. A score of 1 indicated "not scenic," while a score of 10 indicated "very scenic."
To find the link between scenicness and feelings of health, the team combined about 1.5 million ratings from the website with data from the 2011 Census for England and Wales. In this consensus, people reported their general health in a spectrum of "very good" to "very bad."
The study, which is featured in the journal Scientific Reports, found that people who lived in areas that are regarded as more scenic reported their health to be better than those who do not live in scenic areas.
The team noted a wide range of factors in order to find the results of the study. Seresinhe said that people who were richer may live in scenic areas, cities may be considered less scenic because of the lack of greenery and scenic areas may also be less polluted. She said they also observed socioeconomic characteristics such as an individual's employment and income which may be associated with health. They also ran an analysis regarding the levels of air pollution in an area.
"After building all these factors into our analysis, we found that across all of England, people report better health when living in areas of greater scenicness," said Seresinhe.
Areas such as the Lake District were given a high rating of scenicness, but researchers said that feelings of positive health were also found in urban and suburban areas.
"This is a fascinating finding. Just because a place is green does not compel us to feel better on its own," said Seresinhe.
Seresinhe said their findings show that the beauty of people's everyday environments may have practical importance. Policymakers and urban planners may find it valuable to note the aesthetics of an area when embarking on new projects, she added.
Photo: eGuide Travel | Flickr