Does living in a beautiful place like Adams County improve your health? You may intuitively answer “of course” to this question, but interestingly, this subject was addressed by researchers at the Turing Institute in the United Kingdom in 2017. They used large-scale public data to look at the role a beautiful environment plays in human health. Their work was reported by Chanuki Illushka Seresinhe on London’s What Works Centre for Wellbeing website.

The Turing Institute researchers used data collected via the online game “Scenic-Or-Not,” where players rate the “scenic-ness” of photos that cover nearly 95 percent of Great Britain’s landmass, as divided into one-kilometer grid squares. At the time of the study, more than 1.5 million ratings of more than 212,000 pictures of Britain had been collected via the game. The researchers cross-referenced these data with the findings of the 2011 Census for England and Wales, where people reported their health status according to their location within the same grid of one-kilometer squares. By combining these two sets of data the researchers were able to explore the connection between scenic places and human wellbeing.

Betsy Meyer is vice-president of the Land Conservancy of Adams County.

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