Happiness is greater in more scenic locations

Seresinhe, Chanuki Illushka, Preis, Tobias, MacKerron, George and Moat, Helen Susannah (2019) Happiness is greater in more scenic locations. Scientific Reports, 9. p. 4498. ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

Does spending time in beautiful settings boost people’s happiness? The answer to this question has long remained elusive due to a paucity of large-scale data on environmental aesthetics and individual happiness. Here, we draw on two novel datasets: first, individual happiness data from the smartphone app, Mappiness, and second, crowdsourced ratings of the “scenicness” of photographs taken across England from the online game Scenic-Or-Not. We find that individuals are happier in more scenic locations, even when we account for a range of factors such as the activity the individual was engaged in at the time, weather conditions and the income of local inhabitants. Crucially, this relationship holds not only in natural environments, but in built-up areas too, even after controlling for the presence of green space. Our results provide evidence that the aesthetics of the environments that policymakers choose to build or demolish may have consequences for our everyday wellbeing.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Happiness, subjective wellbeing, nature, environment, scenic, scenicness, planning
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Economics
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences > GE170 Environmental policy
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography > GF051 Environmental influences on humans
H Social Sciences > HB Economic theory. Demography > HB0201 Value. Utility
Depositing User: George MacKerron
Date Deposited: 16 May 2019 15:10
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2019 15:02
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/83804

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