How a leafy sidewalk or a forest scene can make us feel richer, younger, and more focussed.
What is most interesting about this data...is one of its subtler details. The health benefits stem almost entirely from trees planted along streets and in front yards, where many people walk past them; trees in back yards and parks don’t seem to matter as much in the analysis. It could be that roadside trees have a bigger impact on air quality along sidewalks, or that leafy avenues encourage people to walk more. But Berman is also interested in a possibility that harks back to Ulrich’s hospital-window finding: perhaps it is enough simply to look at a tree.
In the late nineteenth century, the pioneering psychologist and philosopher William James proposed a distinction between “voluntary” and “involuntary” attention. When you cross a busy intersection or pore over a spreadsheet, you are depleting finite reserves of voluntary, directed attention. The antidote is not, as one might first guess, to sit quietly in a darkened room. “The environment has to have some kind of stimulation to activate your involuntary attention—your fascination".... (CLICK TITLE for more)