A new study from the University of Technology in Sydney confirms the benefits of introducing bushy greenery in urban spaces. The study found that greenery had positive effects on the cognitive functioning of people who lived in areas with views of hedges and plants, resulting in less stress and improved concentration. Bushy greenery also helped reduce cognitive overload, the feeling of being overwhelmed by the abundance of stimuli in an urban environment. Introducing greenery is a low-cost and effective way of making urban environments more liveable and reducing stress levels, particularly in densely populated areas, according to the study’s lead author.
New Study Confirms Benefits of Bushy Greenery in Urban Areas
The concrete jungles of our cities can often feel oppressive, with the lack of greenery, fresh air and space being factors contributing to a high-stress, low-quality life. However, thanks to a new study, we have confirmation that introducing bushy greenery can go a long way in improving our urban environments. Let’s take a look at what the research has found.
The study was conducted by a team of experts from the University of Technology in Sydney and published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. The study aimed to examine the effects of introducing greenery, specifically hedge-like plants, in an urban environment.
The study found that the physical presence of bushy greenery had notable positive effects on the people who lived in the surrounding areas. Those who had views of the greenery experienced less stress and improved cognitive functioning compared to those who didn’t have access to the same views.
The researchers discovered that bushy greenery helped to reduce cognitive overload, which is a term used to describe the feeling of being overwhelmed by the abundance of stimuli in an urban environment. By reducing cognitive overload, people’s brains became more relaxed and focused, which ultimately led to reduced stress levels.
The Benefits of Bushy Greenery in Urban Areas
The benefits of adding bushy greenery to our cities are numerous. Here are just a few:
- Increased cognitive functioning: As mentioned above, the study found that people who had views of bushy greenery experienced improved cognitive functioning, with better concentration and a more focused mind.
- Reduced stress levels: The same study found that those who had views of bushy greenery experienced less stress. Greenery in urban environments has long been associated with passive stress relief, and this study confirms that view.
- Improved air quality: Bushy greenery in urban environments helps to filter pollutants and improve the overall air quality of the area.
- Increased biodiversity: Bushy greenery can help to increase biodiversity in urban environments, providing habitats for insects and other small animals.
- Improved aesthetics: Bushy greenery can make a huge difference in the overall aesthetic appeal of urban environments, making them more pleasant to look at and engage with.
The Implications for Urban Planning
The study has significant implications for urban planning. It suggests that the inclusion of bushy greenery in urban environments can be a relatively low-cost and highly effective way to improve cognitive functioning and reduce stress levels among inhabitants.
The study’s lead author, Associate Professor Peter Phibbs, explained that “When people are in tune with nature, are near it and connected to it, there are profound benefits for physical and mental health, for social connection and even for civic pride in their neighbourhood.”
Phibbs goes on to explain that the inclusion of bushy greenery in urban environments can be especially impactful in highly dense urban areas, where there is a concentration of stress and cognitive overload.
How do bushy plants help to reduce cognitive overload?
Bushy greenery helps to provide a calming visual stimulus, which reduces cognitive overload by offering a restful scene for the eyes. This soothing scenery enables the brain to rest more fully, freeing it from the stress-related overload that can be a common occurrence in highly urbanised areas.
What are the benefits of increased biodiversity in urban environments?
Increased biodiversity can contribute to a more balanced ecosystem in cities, allowing various plant and animal species to thrive. The healthier and more diverse the ecosystem, the better the overall air and water quality and the more sustainable local life becomes for everyone involved.
How can cities implement more bushy greenery?
Cities can incorporate more bushy greenery by planting hedges and small trees along streets and in public spaces. Green roofs and walls are also an excellent way to add more greenery to the urban landscape, improving the air quality around high-rise buildings at the same time. Urban parks and public gardens can also contribute immensely to urban biodiversity and provide peaceful spaces for city-dwellers to connect with nature.