Few people would deny an intuitive sense of increased wellbeing when spending time in beautiful locations. Here, we ask: can we quantify the relationship between environmental aesthetics and human health? We draw on data from Scenic-Or-Not, a website that crowdsources ratings of “scenicness” for geotagged photographs across Great Britain, in combination with data on citizen-reported health from the Census for England and Wales. We find that inhabitants of more scenic environments report better health, across urban, suburban and rural areas, even when taking core socioeconomic indicators of deprivation into account, such as income, employment and access to services. Our results provide evidence in line with the striking hypothesis that the aesthetics of the environment may have quantifiable consequences for our wellbeing.

You can contribute to further research in this area by rating scenic images here: http://scenicornot.datasciencelab.co.uk/