Looking at nature makes you nicer  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

MSNBC has an article on the effect of exposure to the natural environment on people's attitudes - Looking at nature makes you nicer.

“If it weren’t for Central Park, all us New Yorkers would kill each other,” says Ruta Fox, a 50-something jewelry entrepreneur from Manhattan. “It’s the saving grace of this city.”

As extreme as that sounds, Fox may be on to something. In a set of recent experiments, researchers at the University of Rochester in New York monitored the effects of natural versus artificial environments — and found that nature actually makes us nicer.

“Previous studies have shown the health benefits of nature range from more rapid healing to stress reduction to improved mental performance and vitality,” says Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of Rochester and co-author of the study, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

“Now we’ve found nature brings out more social feelings, more value for community and close relationships. People are more caring when they’re around nature,” he says.


True that. The long-term environmental and conservationist I grew up around are the most genuine, honest people and have truly given me the great respect for each and every member of this planet. Always upbeat, polite even after dealing with a lifetime of re-activists, protestors, polluters, lobbyists and a large chuck of people who 'don't get it or care'.

They remind me how much of an important role all those people play and to give them respect with an open ear and mind... yet these are 'environmental conservationist' and I believe there is a difference between these people and mainstream 'green's'

Which shocked me a little reading the negative spin on green's in the EP:

I would guess the snooty, pretentious 'look at me I'm green crowd' is behind the University of Toronto study... who I believe, much like the "60's" era of this will revert back to their selfish lifestyles once they earn and honest living.

When anyone thinks they are better than someone else it creates this moral 'can do no wrong' dilemma.

While many GREAT individuals stayed with the 'green' theme since the 60's and made many of our great environmental and conservation programs today... the majority ignored their own messages they preached and got us into this energy and environmental mess.

Really are any of the current problems any worse or just gotten worse because of priorities?

Yet the University of Toronto study may be interesting to TOD crowd for a fireside to get their spin.

Interesting article and comment - thanks Chris.

Tim Auld   says 5:36 PM

On a related topic, 'A Pattern Language' deals with issues of geometry in built environs and architecture, such as building height and public square dimensions. It has a significant impact on the psychological state of inhabitants. Many of the 'green' buildings you post here I find distasteful and I would expect them to violate many of these traditional rules. They are often unnecessarily grandiose and alienating.

Can you give us some examples of the rules - and which ones some of my green building examples violate ?

Tim Auld   says 11:40 AM

I'm not familiar with all of the patterns, but the most commonly broken one is the four story limit on buildings. This can be occasionally exceeded for pattern 62: high places, but I don't think it applies to residential or commercial buildings. There's also pattern 61: small public squares. The book has this to say: A town needs public squares; they are the largest, most public rooms, that the town has. But when they are too large, they look and feel deserted. Many of the 'green' buildings are depicted with few other buildings surrounding them - especially the towering ones. To a pedestrian this would be a wasteland to be avoided.

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