Happy Life Expectancy And Urban
Happy Life Expectancy and Urban Green Space’s Role in Quality of Life
One of many measures used to define a human’s overall health is their predicted lifespan. Life expectancy is simply defined as the average number of years a person lives within a specific nation (Kim and Kim 403). A nation’s average life expectancy is determined by quantifying the lifespan of registered civilians that have already died. Observed death rates of various age groups are used to estimate the life expectancy of those still alive (Veenhoven 14). Life expectancy is largely dependent on a nation’s ability or inability to provide exceptional living conditions. An abundance of money plays an important role in extending the quantity of life, yet does not enhance subjective quality of life. Defining life expectancy beyond materialism requires evaluating factors that extend lifespan by increasing an individual’s overall sense of happiness.
Economic status isn’t a defining factor when national life expectancy is defined in terms of happiness. Of course, a nation’s income plays an important role in providing basic needs such as clean water and education which are fundamental to attaining a sense of well-being (Kim and Kim 413). Wealth enhances the standards of living for a society but isn’t a defining factor when determining individual happiness and its relationship to quality of life. Grahame F. Evans and Elsayed Z. Soliman measured happiness across one hundred and fifty-one countries by studying the influence of socio-demographic factors, economic status, and natural resources on a subjective sense of well-being (2). A nation’s ability to provide circumstances that encouraged an ideal sense of well-being was based on self-reported subjective happiness, average life expectancy, and ecological footprint (Evans and Soliman 2). Based on their findings, the happiest countries are Denmark, Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, and Venezuela. The unhappiest countries are Togo, Tanzania, Botswana, Central African Republic, and Benin (Evans and Soliman 3). It was determined that there is a significant correlation between high life expectancy and a high sense of subjective well-being. Those who are happier tend to live longer and this is independent of economic factors, population size, and ecological footprint. Although a subjective sense of well-being scored higher in high-income earning countries, the strength of association between income and sense of well-being is too weak to deem abundance of money as the sole defining factor for happiness (Evans and Soliman 4).
Nations with contemporary practices are far more likely to cultivate environments suitable for a happy life expectancy. A study conducted by Ruut Veenhoven delves deeper into discovering factors that contribute to a high happy life expectancy. Veenhoven agrees that wealthier nations on average have higher life expectancies (36). Nations with a widely accepted liberal belief system are more tolerant of individualism making them favorable when measuring happy life expectancy (Veenhoven 36). These nations are more likely to encourage gender equality and right to education regardless of socioeconomic status. Citizens of nations with community organizations have an increased sense of belongingness which positively affects perceived happiness (Veenhoven 37). Western nations are in line with these modern standards of living so it’s no surprise these countries are rated the best when it comes to happy life expectancy. Upon further study, Veenhoven found there is a stronger correlation between gender equality and happy life expectancy than between income equality and happy life expectancy (42). Those who are unemployed have a higher happy life expectancy which contradicts the assumption financial security equates happiness (Veenhoven 42). Lastly, communal events that encourage trust such as religious events do not contribute to happiness (Veenhoven 37).
Architecture’s role in improving quality of life involves creating urban green spaces that promote healthier living. A country’s life expectancy increases when natural amenities are available for recreational use. By preserving the environment, not only will it be of benefit to a nation’s natural resources, it is another approach to improving overall public health (Poudyal et al. 253). Outdoor recreational facilities located near wilderness promote a longer life expectancy by improving physical fitness and mental well-being. Hospital patients with access to green spaces heal quicker due to the positive impact nature has on one’s psychological health. Forest trees alone emit sound frequencies that are proven to have therapeutic properties. Urban forestation has the added benefit of removing air pollution that is toxic to one’s health. Performing physical activities in outdoor environments are more effective in improving one’s fitness than exercising inside. Even leisurely activities performed within outdoor recreational spaces such as golf courses or parks enhance the health of the individual simply by being in nature. Sustaining natural resources can directly benefit major factors necessary for extending life expectancy by maintaining clean air and water (Poudyal et al. 254).
A nation’s economic status plays a critical role in supplementing basic needs fundamental to a long-life expectancy. In addition to establishing longevity, nations must consider supplementing conditions that ensure the long life of their citizens is of high quality. Based on the subjective happiness of citizens living within countries rated highest in life expectancy, studies have demonstrated these nations’ have adopted progressive cultures that focus on social equality over economic status. Architectural projects that focus on adding greenery to urban spaces further add to enhancing the quality of life by providing clean water, fresh air, and opportunities for physical activity. References
Evans, Grahame F., and Elsayed Z. Soliman. “Happier Countries, Longer Lives: an Ecological
Study on the Relationship between Subjective Sense of Well-Being and Life Expectancy.” Global Health Promotion, Aug. 2017, pp. 1-5., doi:10.1177/1757975917714035.
Kim, Jong In, and Gukbin Kim. “Relationship Between the Remaining Years of Healthy Life
Expectancy in Older Age and National Income Level, Educational Attainment, and Improved Water Quality.” The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, vol. 83, no. 4, 2016, pp. 402-417., doi:10.1177/0091415016657560.
Poudyal, Neelam C., et al. “Evaluating Natural Resource Amenities in a Human Life Expectancy
Production Function.” Forest Policy and Economics, vol. 11, no. 4, 2009, pp. 253-259., doi:10.1016/j.forpol.2009.04.007.
Veenhoven, Ruut. “Happy Life-Expectancy: A Comprehensive Measure of Quality-of-Life In
Nations.” Social Indicators Research, vol. 39, no. 1, 1996, pp. 1-58., doi:10.1007/bf00300831.