I just read about this fascinating study from Stanford University in the New York Times Well Blog:
What struck me the most about this study was the fact that they used the Stanford Campus for part of their study--comparing the psychological effects of walking in green spaces to the effects on the brain when walking more congested areas. The volunteers who walked through the tree lined green areas showed meaningful improvements in their mental health. Excellent!
While working on our campus master plan over the last seven years we have studied landscape architects like Frederick Law Olmsted for inspiration, and our own architect Randall Imai has worked to intentionally connect the natural areas of our campus to the main quad. Students and faculty can access at least three trails into the woods within a minute's walking distance from the center of the quad.
For anyone interested in this issue and our efforts to encourage students to get into the out-of-doors I also recommend Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods. We believe that our campus works on us in powerful and positive ways.