Mental health in barren suburbia

MENTAL and physical health is at risk if Bayswater continues to lose trees to infill development according to the expert report by UWA’s Australian Urban Design Research Centre.

The report used public health data to estimate that about 9.2 per cent of adults in Bayswater are at “high” or “very high” psychological distress.

The report estimates those rates will rise to about 10.44 per cent if blocks keep getting cleared.

But it claims if the council goes all out planting trees in town centres, verges, and around schools and parks and reaches an overall canopy of 30 per then the effect can be reversed.

They predict “high” or “very high” psychological distress rates could drop to 7.68 due to trees cooling the area, calming stress, making it easier to exercise and encouraging more socialising.

The report says with a “tree canopy of 30 per cent or more, adults had 31 per cent lower odds of developing psychological distress”.

On the physical side the research centre estimated 63 per cent of Bayswaterians are getting either “low” exercise or even none at all, and that could be brought down a couple percentage points with more tree coverage.

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