Friday, January 9, 2009

Brain: "City bad, nature good"

A nifty article in the Boston Globe called "How the city hurts your brain" says:

"'The mind is a limited machine,' says Marc Berman, a psychologist at the University of Michigan and lead author of a new study that measured the cognitive deficits caused by a short urban walk. 'And we're beginning to understand the different ways that a city can exceed those limitations.'

One of the main forces at work is a stark lack of nature, which is surprisingly beneficial for the brain. Studies have demonstrated, for instance, that hospital patients recover more quickly when they can see trees from their windows, and that women living in public housing are better able to focus when their apartment overlooks a grassy courtyard. Even these fleeting glimpses of nature improve brain performance, it seems, because they provide a mental break from the urban roil.'...

"This research is also leading some scientists to dabble in urban design, as they look for ways to make the metropolis less damaging to the brain. The good news is that even slight alterations, such as planting more trees in greater variety of plants, can significantly reduce the negative side effects of city life. The mind needs nature, and even a little bit can be a big help."

I'm a city girl and I can attest that hustle and bustle, and expanses of concrete can be tiring. Maybe that's why moving to a city pumped up my love of green growing things.

Article found on Neatorama Pictures found in the Austin Street Art Pool on Flickr

No comments: