The need for Landscapes
Historically humans have always used the outdoors as a place of reprieve and respite. Landscapes can be beneficial to us as individuals. They are a vital resource for the use of the larger community. By enhancing nature, we can provide an antidote to busy everyday life. By designing and creating beautiful landscapes, we can reduce pressure on important services such as public health and social services, leaving spending for those who really need it. By conserving natural landscapes, we can restore our sense of calm and well being. This need for tranquility and calm is reflected in our use of natural landscapes, such National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), as well as other remote landscapes.
Why are landscapes important?
As a species, humans originally evolved as hunter gatherers. This transitioned to farmers as hunter-gatherer bands began to settle. Eventually, as the need for farmers diminished due to advances in society and learning, we began to take on other roles as a species. Our immediate connection to the land began to diminish. Now we can re establish greener living environments, and the links that we lost.
Thoughout history though humans have thrived and lived off the land. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests not only do we need the land for survival, in terms of resources such as food, but, in fact that landscapes are also vital in promoting our physical and mental health.
Why is a reduction of public health spending important? How can Landscapes help?
Increase in activity:
It is widely known that when we are outdoors, we are more active. Activity and exercise are very important in maintaining overall health. Physically, many health problems can be linked to inactivity and obesity. Some examples spring to mind immediately such as stroke, heart disease or cancer. Other examples may be less obvious. Conditions influenced by inactivity present with an entire range of co-morbid health problems,with links to greater risk of poor health outcomes, also putting extra pressure on public spending.
By increasing the number of landscapes and green infrastructure avilable to soicety, and by encouraging public use of these, we can therefore encourage healthier lifestyles overall. The prevention of poor outcomes and long term disease is something that can be directly influenced by this. This will lead to better outcomes for communities and a fitter and healthier population.
Reducing stress and anxiety:
Not only does activity in landscapes reduce stress and anxiety through the production of endorphins, but there is a growing body of research that suggest just being outside in natural landscapes really does help to make us happier and healthier.