Treemendous Benefits

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Published on: Jul. 2, 2007

Last revision: Dec. 1, 2010

storefronts found in many small towns back into thriving businesses. Research suggests trees contribute positively to downtown shopping areas.

A study comparing downtown business districts reveals that people will drive from farther away to shop in tree-lined downtown districts than they will to shop in downtowns without trees. They’ll also spend more time shopping and come back more frequently.

People also are willing to pay more for parking and spend more money on goods and entertainment in downtowns with trees. In fact, downtowns with full-canopy shade trees are perceived as having better character and containing stores with better products and merchants than treeless shopping districts.

Road Relaxation

Even at 70 miles per hour people benefit from trees. Long or difficult commutes can contribute to high blood pressure and increased illness rates as well as lower job satisfaction. Researchers tracking stress indicators, such as heart rate and blood pressure, found that driving in areas of strip malls tends to boost the incidence of road rage. However, drivers who enjoy views of nature while on the road report less driving stress.

Stress Relief

Feeling bogged down? Frustrated? Overwhelmed? Plant trees. You’ll feel better.

Researchers found that people in housing surrounded by trees and lawn report that their life issues feel less difficult. They also procrastinate less and have higher attention spans than those whose apartment buildings have no grass and trees around them.

Park users in Cleveland reported that urban forests and parks offered more privacy and tranquility than their homes. To escape crowds, work, home routines and associates, they sought out heavily forested areas with nearby running water or with unpaved paths. They used such places for reflective thought, resting their minds and thinking creatively.

Trees for Learning

Trees improve children’s ability to concentrate and their reasoning skills.

A Swedish study of day care centers found that children attending facilities with natural settings and providing year-round outdoor play under trees had better motor abilities and concentration skills than children at day care centers surrounded by buildings and with less opportunity for outdoor play.

Even the view outside a child’s window has been shown to affect development. One study in a public housing project found that girls with views of trees and grass outside their bedroom have more self-discipline and greater concentration skills than those without a good view.

Boys in the housing project did not show the same differences, likely because they were generally allowed more time outdoors.

In another study, three groups of people

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