When searching for a home to purchase, there are sooo many things to consider - the area, the schools nearby, the commute, the crime levels, the type of neighborhood you're looking for, and so much more. However, have you ever considered trees as an important factor?
Yep, you read correctly - trees. Trees have tons of benefits for your health, happiness, and wellbeing (besides being pretty to look at). Don't just take our word for it, there are numerous US-based studies that back this up. That's why we created our latest feature, Treescore, to help you find homes with plenty of trees around them.
Exposure to trees, forests, and wood-like areas boots our immune system through phytoncides, an airborne chemical released from plants to protect them from insects, and these just happen to have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that help them fight against disease. When we humans breathe these in, our bodies increase the number and activity of our natural killer white blood cells which can kill tumor and virus-infected cells in the body. Researchers in Japan have even been investigating whether exposure to forests can help prevent certain kinds of cancer.
Many of our lives are busier and more mentally draining than ever right now - especially due to working from home during the pandemic and the struggle to create a work-life balance. Focusing on many things at once and for long periods of time can lead to something known as Directed Attention Fatigue. Giving the cognitive part of your brain a break is super important - and immersing yourself in the great outdoors greatly helps with this. Going for walks in nature, around trees, and wildlife is known to help increase focus and patience.
There are numerous studies that suggest exercising and immersing yourself in forests and tree dense areas reduces blood pressure, cortisol, and adrenaline which in turn eases stress and boosts mood. In Japan, they practice 'forest bathing' also known as shinrin-yoku which is a form of nature therapy grounding techniques of using all senses in nature to improve mental and physical health including anxiety, anger, depression, and fatigue which in turn boosts the immune system.
There is research that shows how hospital patients given a "green view" from their hospital room had shorter post-op stays versus those who had no view or a non-green view. Post-op patients can suffer and be stressed from a multitude of factors like pain, fear, discomfort, and more.
We mentioned Attention Fatigue above - and in children, this can cause control impulses and decreased ability to pay attention and focus, even ADHD. Many studies show that children who spend time in nature and tree-dense areas have reduced Attention Fatigue and related symptoms.
Although we have referenced forests and wood-like areas in this article, it's important to know that green spaces in urban and suburban areas are just as important. The majority of the US population live in areas like these, and may not have access to rural tree-dense areas - but public parks, gardens, and tree-lined streets are just as good and make up what's known as urban and community forests throughout the country and are perfect for our day-to-day source of trees.
All this being said, how can you actually find your dream home and ensure there are plenty of trees around for you to reap the benefits of?
Well, our new Treescore feature should make that pretty easy for you! We use a combination of satellite photos of homes and their surrounding areas and AI to measure tree coverage around the home.
This data is then converted into our tree density rating system and given a score from 0 (Barren) to 100 (Lush) - mimicking how we humans percept tree coverage. Check it out in action:
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