Historic agricultural landscapes and stress
White, Stephen Layne
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The United States is losing natural areas, green space, and farmland at an alarming rate. From 1992 to 1997 the conversion to suburbia happened at a rate of 2.2 million acres per year, almost double the annual loss of the previous decade. Certainly, we are losing a significant component of our heritage and straining our planet. Ultimately, and most profoundly, the loss may adversely affect human well-being. This thesis attempts to answer the question: Is there a correlation between historic farmland and stress as a component of well-being? The research began with a survey of literature. The project’s centerpiece consisted of a survey meant for 1,500 university students, which asked them to respond to slides depicting historic agricultural landscapes through a depression scale. The student survey showed a trend toward a correlation and encourages more powerful studies. The intention of this work is to trigger research on a large scale that forges statistically significant correlations between all types of historic sites and mental, physical, and social well-being. Hopefully, the offspring of this study will inspire in our citizenry a quantifiably higher quality of life and a more dutiful regard for environmental stewardship.
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