A research synthesis using an online finding archive

Ruut Veenhoven , Nivré Claire Wagner and Jan Ott, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization
EHERO working paper 2021-1


Background: There is a high demand for the greening of urban areas and one of the drivers of this demand is the biophilia theory which holds that we feel better in a green environment.
Question: Does the provision of urban greenery really add to the happiness of city dwellers? If so, by how much and does the effect differ across people and situations? Approach: We summarized the available research findings on the relation between happiness and urban greenery considering both outdoor and indoor green spaces.
Method: We draw on the Word Database of Happiness, in which we found 38 research findings on the relationship between happiness and urban greenery, reported in 13 publications. These findings are presented in two tabular schemes that include links to further online details.
Results: The provision of urban greenery tends to go together with greater happiness of locals, both outdoor and indoor greenery. The size of the effect is small. Fear of crime reduces the effect of outdoor greenery on happiness.

Keywords: biophilia theory, happiness, urban greenery, World Database of Happiness, research synthesis

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