Can the urban forest promote mental wellbeing?

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Urban trees mitigate many negative environmental impacts such as the heat island effect, flooding and air pollution, thus having many indirect health and well being benefits. However, a growing body of research tells us that urban trees or nature may have an effect on our health and mental well being too.

The research undertaken suggests that experiencing and viewing nature initiates the physiological and psychological responses that underpin recovery from stress. There was a strong belief from the participants in both the
power of the surrounding environment and trees and nature to have beneficial effects on mental well being. Only 6.5% of all participants disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement ‘Trees and nature make me calm and relaxed’. Additionally, it was found that nearby residential trees may provide beneficial in improving mental well being for more disadvantaged socio-economic groups.  All food for thought in the development of housing in the future, not only stressing the importance of affordability, but also interaction with its natural surroundings.

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