Researchers claim to have provided the first large-scale quantitative evidence that people are happier in more beautiful surroundings. The study, led by a team from the Data Science Lab at Warwick Business School, The Alan Turing Institute and the University of Sussex, suggests that this effect does not only hold in areas of natural beauty, but in towns and cities as well. The researchers analysed nearly one million ratings of photographs from an online game, alongside three years of data on the happiness of more than 15,000 people, gathered via a mobile app.
Chanuki Seresinhe, of the Data Science Lab and The Alan Turing Institute, said: “We find that people are indeed happier in more scenic environments, even after controlling for a range of variables such as potential effects of the weather, and the activity that an individual is engaged in at the time.
“Crucially, we show that it is not only the countryside with which we see this association: built-up areas, which might comprise characterful buildings or bridges, also have a positive link to happiness. Therefore, this research could be useful for informing decisions made in the design of our towns, cities and urban neighbourhoods, which affect people’s everyday lives.”