Monday, January 5, 2009

Brain and the City

Here's a link to a great article in the Boston Globe about the brain's reaction to city living. According to a recent study, city living is not so good for your brain, but bits of nature may help:

One of the main forces at work is a stark lack of nature, which is surprisingly beneficial for the brain. Studies have demonstrated, for instance, that hospital patients recover more quickly when they can see trees from their windows, and that women living in public housing are better able to focus when their apartment overlooks a grassy courtyard. Even these fleeting glimpses of nature improve brain performance, it seems, because they provide a mental break from the urban roil.

Read the rest here.

I knew there was a good reason for Central Park.

I was walking past a public housing project (in Boston we used to just call them "projects") on Amsterdam Ave. yesterday, and I noticed a sign that said, "Keep off the Grass." But there was no grass in sight--not even the tuffty-brown skeletons of winter grass--just frozen mud. It was mighty grim. If a woman looked out of her window into that muddy mess, I think the urban brain performance meltdown would surely kick in. We were so lucky as children growing up in an apartment with a grassy back yard, hedged in with privet, and lined with forsythia. It wasn't big, but it was a little oasis apart from the trolley cars, ambulances, and street noise that marks daily life in a city. A little nature, it seems, goes a long way.

Have you been outside today?

1 comment:

Laura A said...

I enjoyed this, MacBeth. I did laugh at the "pastoral" image of the Chickadee in the tree with the Red-tail, though. This is not exactly an image of peace for most small animals. Not until the lion lies down with the lamb, anyway!