More Green Spaces, Better Health for Citizens: University of Chicago Study
Marc Berman, Associate Professor
of Psychology at University of Chicago is worried about the closure of big
parks and beaches to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Although such measures
are required to contain the Covid-19 virus but being cooped up inside can cause
mental problems in people.
"You could probably figure out a way to map out the population, to say certain neighbourhoods can go here at this time, or other places at another time. Try to spread it out, to keep people exposed to these environments that we know are good for them. The question is, does a city or municipality have enough greenspace to safely do this? For many places, that answer may be no."
In a study done by Berman in 2015 it was found that having ten more trees on a city block increases how healthy nearby residents fee- an improvement that could also be achieved through a $10,00 increase in income or a seven-year decrease in age.
"Cities have a limited amount of space, so we need to be creative about how we’re going to get the green space in," Berman said. “Maybe that means designing buildings a little bit differently. Or changing the exterior of a building to add green walls. Having more trees—simple changes like that can preserve the good social connectivity of cities, while providing enough green spaces for mental and physical health.
"If we can get people interacting with nature more in larger cities, then you’d have a more mentally healthy city population as well.”