The votes are in.
It’s no secret that spending time outdoors has immense benefits for your health.
Besides providing a noticeable mood boost, they can help relieve the stress of living in an urban area by offering a place to exercise, gather, and relax.
One research team writing this week in the journal PLOS One wanted to see how urban parks contribute to people’s happiness in cities across the U.S.
They tracked the use of common words like “beautiful” and “garbage” and gave happiness scores to determine how positive each word was.
Then, the researchers ranked each city park system based on a final happiness benefit score based on the difference in positivity between tweets posted in parks and outside of parks.
7.3 percent of all tweets sent in the city were posted from parks.
The most populous city in the U.S. had an only slightly higher happiness benefit score than San Diego.
Though this city had the second-lowest amount of total tweets analyzed, a strong share of positive ones were posted from parks.
Posts from 3112 visitors across 163 parks show that greenspaces in this riverside city spark a lot of joy.
Over 21,000 tweets from city parks in this locale revealed a lot of positive messages from visitors.
Despite its brutal winters, Illinois’ largest city still had a high positivity benefit for parks overall.
People consistently expressed joy in the sun-drenched parks of Florida’s largest city.
How about that view? Park-dwellers in Southern California lit up Twitter with enough positive park tweets to put L.A.’s system in third place.
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Despite having the lowest park spending per capita in the entire study, Indiana’s capital saw the most positivity in its city parks.
However, they did notice that happier cities tended to have larger parks, including spaces larger than 100 acres.
“One possible explanation is that larger parks provide greater opportunities for mental restoration and separation from the taxing environment of the city.”
Schwartz et al, study authors
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