The study by the Warwick Business School gathered data from more than 1.5 million people using crowdsourced photos from across Britain to determine the ‘scenicness’ of a place and its impact on health.
Using data from people living in a range of urban, suburban and rural environments, the study: Quantifying the Impact of Scenic Environments on Health, which was published in Scientific Reports earlier this week, found that people who lived in areas with a higher rating of ‘scenicness’ reported feeling healthier and happier.
However, researchers also found evidence that a wide range of factors, such as income and employment, may have a larger impact than previously thought on how healthy people feel. They also found that green areas didn’t necessarily have a link with feeling of health, and is instead better understood by how scenic an area is.
Dr Suzy Moat, Associate Professor of Behavioural Science and co-director of Warwick Business School’s Data Science Lab said: “We know that some of the areas rated as very scenic, such as the Lake District, are also very green. For this reason, we wanted to make sure that the relationship we were seeing between scenicness and health wasn’t simply reflecting beneficial effects of green spaces.”
Dr Moat added: “Our analysis confirmed that people do report their health to be better in areas with more green land cover. Importantly, however, we find that across urban, suburban and rural areas, we can better explain differences in how healthy people report themselves to be if we also consider how scenic the area they live in is.”
Additionally, the study found that the most highly rated scenic photos contain large proportions of grey, brown and blue, rather than green.
Chanuki Seresinhe, a PhD student in the Data Science Lab at Warwick Business School, Seresinhe said: “We also found that the most scenic photos do not contain the highest proportion of the colour green.
“Instead, very scenic photos also tend to contain large proportions of grey, brown and blue – perhaps corresponding to mountains or lakes. We saw that less scenic images tend to be mainly grey with higher proportions of black and white, but interestingly, also contain more green than the most scenic photos.”