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Parks 'create happiness'

CITY PARKS should be viewed as preventive medicine, a London conference on wildlife, people and parks was told yesterday, writes David Nicholson-Lord.

Research showed that parks made people happier, 'and happier people are healthier people', a specialist in leisure studies said. Geoffrey Godbey, former president of the US Academy of Leisure Sciences and a professor at Pennsylvania State University, said studies showed that people who were active, laughed and were stimulated by their environment enjoyed better health.

Parks allowed people to enjoy a sense of wonder at the natural world, in contrast to the blank walls and 'sensory deprivation' of city life. 'It is this sense of wonder that girds a person to deal with the extraordinary amount of change taking place in the world. It is this type of prevention that saves money,' he said.