we I know that In densely populated areas, people are more likely to suffer from mental health disorders. Overcrowding, pollution, urban violence, and lack of social support It may be everything Contributing factors, and this matter has become more difficult with the increasing number of people around the world Moving to towns and cities.
Normal settings have always been considered a potential solution, ever since Several studies have shown That when people are closer to nature, they are less stressed, and their mood and general mental health improves. he was there Lots of research In using therapeutic landscapes in cities to bring the benefits of being in nature to more people.
But while many studies have focused on green space, researchers are also starting to look at the health benefits of living near water. So far, studies show that people who live near water have fewer risks Early deathLess risk Of obesity, And the report in general Better mental health and wellness. These are blue areas, too Reducing the gap Among the less affluent regions that are at risk of early death.
But while proximity to water enhances people’s well-being, no research has yet shown that it reduces the incidence of mental health disorders. Most of the studies also focused on coastal cities rather than cities.
Given that even landlocked cities are built around water features like canals, rivers and lakes, our research aims to uncover their health benefits, and how they can be reused to improve the mental health of people who live in cities.
The Mental Health Connection
We conducted prof A systematic review and meta-analysis From all the evidence about how blue space positively affects health. This showed that living close to your neighborhood and having more blue space in it can significantly increase your levels of physical activity. Blue spaces have also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, while boosting people’s mood and mental health. Our findings are consistent with Other studies have found.
Researchers A study of the effects of blue space rendered through virtual reality found that people see it as restorative, brilliant, and preferable to a built environment. This illustrates how technology can be used as a way to study how proximity to water affects people.
Our next area of research will be to understand how blue spaces benefit people in these ways. We also believe that having more water in cities can improve residents’ health in other ways, such as reducing heat and lowering air pollution. But more research will be needed to understand whether this is effectively the case.
Create blue spaces
But if early evidence points to many health benefits from living near water, the problem many cities face is finding ways to introduce them to residents. During the Victorian era, canals in the United Kingdom were of great importance to the economy. Channels are allowed Trade to take place Help the workers move. There is still a huge network of these waterways in many UK cities, but few are in use.
For exampleThere are more canals in Birmingham than in Venice. But access to it is often blocked by tall buildings or fences, and its potential is far from being exploited. Deserted canals can sometimes cause environmental problems, such as Plastic garbage pollutionThat could reduce biodiversity and harm wildlife.
several Projects In the last few years he has sought to revamp the channel networks in the UK, albeit with the aim of improving the local economy and creating valuable real estate. But even aside from the potential effects on mental health, renewing these networks could bring other benefits, such as control Water levelsAnd the Flood prevention And making cities more resilient to climate change.
With this in mind, some municipalities have begun to use canals to mitigate flood risks and to provide greener transportation options, and this creates a win-win situation that combines economic, environmental and health benefits.
Efforts in Scotland To renew channels a Good example. Previously flooded lands saw the construction of new homes and businesses. Walking paths have also been established along the canals, allowing people to visit the canals, even while development continues.
While more research is needed to better understand the true benefits of blue spaces on residents, it is clear that finding ways to repurpose abandoned canals in cities could have other benefits for the environment and the economy as well.
Mikhail GiorgioPhD candidate The effect of blue spaces on health Glasgow Caledonian University And the Sebastian ChastainThe reader, the dynamics of the health behavior of individuals, places and systems, Glasgow Caledonian University
Top image: People who live near water report better mental health and well-being. Olga888as / Shutterstock