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December 11, 2015

A busy city is a mindful city

The always-on nature of city life might seem mentally taxing but a recent study suggests our urban environment actually protects mental health.

  • Words: Joshua Fanning
  • Image: The cobbled streets of Borgo Dora in Turin, by Antonio

A beautiful city on the northern banks of the Po River in northern Italy, Turin is a lot like Adelaide by numbers. With an urban population of 911,823 it is a city defined by its long history and derives much of its cultural significance from its concentration of churches and universities.

Sound familiar?

A recent study, however suggests that it’s the city’s public transport and piazzas that are giving its residents more serenity than its places of worship.

Researchers found that anti-depressant drug consumption was reduced in population-dense areas with excellent access to public transport as compared to those who lived in areas characterised by sprawl. The more time someone spends in their local, accessible neighbourhood the more their mind’s at ease.

Why? Each factor increases the odds of an active social life, something that has been proven time and again to help prevent depression.

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