Healthier cities healthier people finds UQ
Australians will be happier, healthier and safer if they look after the nature spots in their cities, new research from the University of Queensland (UQ) has found.
The research team, led by UQ’s Dr Richard Fuller, showed that having nature nearby can boost people’s health, improve their mental capacity and lower violence and aggression rates in the community.
Conserving nature in cities, such as restoring habitats or setting up reserves can be expensive relative to conservation actions outside cities,” Dr Fuller said.
“This often raises the question of whether we should invest in keeping biodiversity within our urban areas.
“The answer is yes, as scientific studies around the world now show that experiences of nature provide important benefits to many aspects of our lives, including our mental and physical health, social relationships and even our spiritual wellbeing.”
As well as physical and mental health benefits, the restorative properties of nature can improve a person's ability to tackle mentally challenging tasks, the studies showed.
“We constantly direct our attention towards avoiding hazards and coping with noise and sights in busy urban environments,” Dr Fuller said.
“This requires sustained effort and can lead to mental fatigue, resulting in reduced ability to concentrate.
“A study shows that when asked to repeat a sequence of numbers in reverse order, students who previously walked through a busy city street performed poorly compared to those who had walked through a tree-lined arboretum.”