Today’s news from Bath is that it’s wet and windy out there — as is traditional for British Bank Holidays and school vacations. It looks like the walk to the park to play ball with the kids is off. Which is a shame, for more reasons than one.

Environmental psychologists have known for a while that green areas are psychologically good for us, helping us to recover from mental wear and tear. But now the good people at the universities of Sheffield and De Montfort, Leicester have found that some green spaces are better for us than others.

When it comes to urban green spaces, mental health benefits increase with the level of biodiversity, Dr Richard Fuller (Department of Animal & Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield) and colleagues have found. A green area rich in species is better for us than an equally green area with fewer species. And we seem to be pretty good at assessing how many kinds of species live in urban parks, just by looking at the plants.

The researchers point out that the world’s human population is increasingly concentrated in cities, isolated from nature. So perhaps we should now be investing the municipal parks manager with much higher importance. S/he is providing something of more profound human value than just pandering to preferences for busy lizzies or pansies. ;-)

Hat tip to The Situationist for alerting us to this story.

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5 Responses to “wilder parks are better for you”  

  1. 1 Linda Whitehead

    It is good to know why I feel marvellous in all weathers walking round Ham Lands with the dog. These former gravel pits were infilled with bombsite rubble from London clearance post WWII and are now a riot of wild and extremely diverse shrubs, trees and plants from carpets of chives underfoot, to bamboo, to wild honeysuckle and clematis, bluebells, oak, ash, giant hogsweed, Japanese knotweed, hawthorn, pear, apple, blackberry, nettles, cow parsley, vetches,(various)ox daisies and more. Sadly earmarked for destruction, it will be dug down a metre or more, every single species removed, planted to pasture and flood water diverted in when the Thames barrier is no longer enough for the rising tides. Who decided that Ham Lands should go in the interests of other (wealthier?) parts of the city?

  2. 2 simon Fellows

    Sir methinks the term is ‘habitat selection’..all animals gravitate to environs that are or similar to the ones their species evolved within

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