There are many reasons why humans have chosen to live so close to one another throughout history. Even though technology has made it possible for us to live farther apart, that distance may be damaging to our health. According to a recent study by the University of Oxford and the University of Hong Kong, there is a relationship between living in a city and better overall health. The study found that rates of obesity are lower where population is denser, i.e. cities.
One characteristic of city living that solidifies the findings in this study is the close proximity of places in a city. City dwellers typically walk much more than those plagued by urban sprawl who have to drive most places. This results in those lower obesity rates we see in the study. Plus, being closely surrounded by others means that you will spend more time around people leading to increased levels of socializing. This can have significant mental health benefits.
For much of modern history, the consensus has been that city living is bad for your health. Why would anyone choose to live in crowded, urban environments when they could live happily in the suburbs? But, Overall, this study concludes, living in urban areas isn’t as harmful to one’s well-being as the consensus seems to believe.