A 2009 article in the Boston Globe describes a research report (“The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature”) and explains why human-designed environments are harmful to the brain unless they incorporate natural environments.
When a park is properly designed, it can improve the function of the brain within minutes. As the Berman study demonstrates, just looking at a natural scene can lead to higher scores on tests of attention and memory. While people have searched high and low for ways to improve cognitive performance, from doping themselves with Red Bull to redesigning the layout of offices, it appears that few of these treatments are as effective as simply taking a walk in a natural place.
This indicates that people who live in the country and dial-in to meetings should be far more productive and happy than their counterparts fighting traffic and sitting in an office building…
The study is new and interesting but it sounds very familiar to what the Victorian scientists argued more than a hundred years ago. The creation of a Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and a Central Park in New York City were purposeful attempts to make the cities more habitable.