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Tree-lined streets equal a healthier, wealthier you

Image: Thinkstock

Tree-lined streets equal a healthier, wealthier you

If you don’t live on a street lined with trees it might be worth organising a mass planting bee with your neighbours or perhaps even a move. According to researchers in Toronto, people lucky enough to share their street with trees enjoy multiple benefits including fewer low-birth rates, better mental health and a reduced incidence of asthma.

“We find that having 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighbourhood with $10,000 higher median income or being seven years younger,” the study stated.

Researchers looked specifically at how exposure to trees affects health variables such as health perception and conditions including hypertension, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Mental health issues like major depression, anxiety, and addiction were also assessed.

The findings state, “ people who live in areas with higher street tree density report better health perception and fewer cardio-metabolic conditions compared with their peers living in areas with lower street tree density.” Residing in a tree-lined street provided benefits the equivalent to being seven years younger or receiving a $10,000 salary rise.

Some of the positive effects were found to be partly related to the mere visual exposure to trees and to the dry deposition of air pollutants.

If that’s not enough to get you moving, apparently you’d clean up in the housing market also. Studies generally find that residential property values increase with the presence of trees. Consumer research conducted by Greg McPherson from the Center for Urban Forest Research found that buyers are willing to pay 3 to 7 per cent more for houses with trees on the property.

Are you lucky enough to live on a tree-lined street?

 

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