A new home—and a new purpose—for ScenicOrNot

My last blog post ran through the history of our ‘rate the view’ site ScenicOrNot.

I was expecting to wrap up with a final paragraph describing its graceful retirement. But no — it turns out that, even as I wrote, emails were going back and forth to secure a whole new career for ScenicOrNot.

Here’s what its new owners at the Warwick Business School have to say:

Does living in picturesque areas make you feel healthier? Urban planners and think tanks have puzzled over this question for years, but have been held back by a lack of data on the beauty of our environment.

We were immensely excited to discover the data being collected by ScenicOrNot, as it gives us a crucial opportunity to finally get some answers to this age-old question.

Our initial analyses of the ScenicOrNot data suggest that people living in more scenic environments report better health, even when taking variables such as income and greenspace into account. These results suggest that the beauty of our everyday environment might have more practical importance than has previously been realised.

We’ve written a paper describing these analyses, which is currently under review. Keep in touch with us via Twitter (@thoughtsymmetry or @thedatascilab) and we’ll let you know when the paper is published.

We’re very honoured that mySociety are passing the ScenicOrNot site into our care. We’re excited about having the opportunity to customise the site and gather more data for our research, and we’d also love to expand this work to other countries. Stay tuned to hear what comes next!

We’re excited too, of course — and really pleased that ScenicOrNot has been redeployed in such a useful way.

The good news for you is that you can carry on rating photos for scenicness over at the site’s new home, all in the knowledge that you are increasing our understanding  about the correlation between health and our environment.

Oh, and meanwhile: how would you rate the view from your window? You might want to talk to your doctor about that.

Image: Brainflakes (CC)