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Beat the blues with peaceful parkside living
June 5, 2015Article by Charlotte Ashton
Many people dream of living by a park, perhaps picturing themselves jogging before work or picnicking with friends in the sunshine on long summer evenings. It’s a lifestyle choice that many are instinctively drawn to and now a new study from the University of Exeter Medical School has shown that living near green space in a town or city improves long-term mental health.
The research followed participants for five years, using data from the British Household Panel Survey. By studying two groups of participants (those who moved to less green areas and those who moved to more green areas), the university team found that those who relocated to greener areas experienced an immediate improvement in mental health. Those who moved to less green areas suffered a corresponding decline in mental health prior to their move (though returning to normal once the move was finished).
Long term effects
The positive effects of parkside living were found to last for at least three years after people moved, with the study identifying this long-term effect for the first time.
Ray Withers, Chief Executive of leading property investment specialists Property Frontiers, comments,
“We’ve known for some time from anecdotal evidence that people enjoy parkside living, but this new study has provided some fascinating insights that town planners will no doubt be considering carefully. The length of the positive impact on mental health gained from parkside living really is quite astonishing and has highlighted the value to property investors of sourcing urban homes located by green spaces.”
Park View apartments in Brighton offer just the kind of environment that has been proven to boost mental health. The boutique collection of high spec, two bedroom apartments faces Preston Park, which offers extensive green space with access to a variety of sporting facilities. Preston Park train station (one hour direct to London Victoria) is within walking distance, making the development an ideal home for commuters working in the capital but looking for peaceful parkside living in their free time. Prices range from £330,000 to £420,000, with up to 4.7% yield expected.
Levelling the playing field
Another way in which parkside living benefits mental health is by reducing the gap between rich and poor. Glasgow and Edinburgh universities have found that the mental health gap that separates the wealthy from those living in poverty is reduced by 40% in those with good access to green space, based on data from the European Quality of Life Survey. The study found that access to green or recreational space led to narrower inequalities in wellbeing, while a number of other areas (access to postal services, public transport, banking services and cultural services) had no noticeable impact.
In simple terms, those living near parks are happier for longer. Further studies will no doubt be undertaken to examine the beneficial effects but for now, everyone from residents to property investors can sit back and enjoy the impact of a parkside home.