How Our Evolving Brains Can Shape Cities

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Colin Ellard, a neuroscientist takes his lab on the road to explore the psychology of the streets.

Side by side pictures of city street scape, modern and oldWe don’t usually think much of it as we’re walking down a street, but our bodies and brains are constantly reacting to what’s around us. Psychologists and neuroscientists have spent years studying the effect of cities on our behavior and our emotional and physiological states, but a lot of questions remain unanswered.

For example, studies have suggested that green space can have a positive effect on well-being. But “does a set of trees on a boulevard do it, or do you need to be completely immersed in a space?,” asks Colin Ellard, a neuroscientist at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and the author of the new book Places of the Heart: Psychogeography of Everyday Life. “And does simply walking down a street with a nice landscape work, or do you have to sit on a bench in a park for half an hour to get these beneficial effects?”

For the complete story by Linda Poon

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