Culture 2 min read

New Study: Green Spaces Can Help You Trust Strangers

Once again, studies show that the best cure for loneliness is a good walk in the park. ¦ Pixabay

Once again, studies show that the best cure for loneliness is a good walk in the park. ¦ Pixabay

As interconnected as the modern day society is, studies show that we have never felt so alone.

A recent survey of 20,000 adults] in the United States revealed that nearly half of the people suffer from a feeling of loneliness.

In Britain, one in ten people said they have no close friends, while 36 percent of city dwellers in France reported a feeling of solitude.

Ironic as it may sound, it’s a fact; loneliness is a growing concern in cities across the world. That means social links in our neighborhood are necessary to increase well-being.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have discovered a simple, inexpensive way to do just this. And it begins with the color green.

According to a publication in the Journal Cities and Health, green spaces and colorful, community-driven urban design elements are linked with a greater trust of strangers. The papers revealed that not only does adding greenery increase the level of happiness, but it also leads to higher environmental stewardship.

Lead author and Ph.D. candidate in cognitive neuroscience, Hanna Negami wrote;

“The urban design interventions we studied are relatively simple and low-cost, but show great potential to improve individuals’ emotional and social lives.”

How Green Spaces Inspire Trust

For the study, the researchers took the participants on a walking tour of Vancouver’s West End neighborhood. Then, they were asked to complete a questionnaire via a smartphone app at six stops.

These include concrete and green laneways, a standard and rainbow-painted crosswalks, as well as a wild community garden and another manicured green space.

Results from the study demonstrated that simple urban design intervention such as adding greenery to the environment could increase sociability and subjective well-being among city residents.

According to Colin Ellard, professor of psychology and director of the Urban Realities Lab;

“We know that the design of a city has a direct, measurable, psychological impact on its citizens. We’ve been able to show how such impact can be measured and what it can tell us about good, psychologically sustainable design,”

Using findings from this research, we may be able to design cities that promote social connection among people living in cities and ultimately mitigate the feeling of isolation.

Read More: Will Shopping Malls Survive the Decade?

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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