A large number of people have moved out of cities since the COVID pandemic. And maybe it's not surprising: cities are often polluted, noisy and overpriced – seemingly not the best recipe for happiness.

But new research of housing in Denmark shows that people who live in high-rise buildings in city centres actually have surprisingly low rates of depression – particularly if they have access to green space or water bodies. By comparison, those residing in the suburbs have a higher incidence of depression.

The researchers hope that their work will ultimately inform urban planning, for example by encouraging more high rises that are surrounded by some green space. This wouldn’t just make sense from a mental health perspective. Suburban areas, with a medium density of low-rise buildings, are also less sustainable than denser city neighbourhoods.

Elsewhere, the UK government’s latest messaging on welfare fraud appears to have revived a troubling stereotype that people on benefits are “scroungers” or “cheats”. And after a new report revealed that more than 35,000 incidents of sexual misconduct have occurred in the NHS over the past five years, we hear how the problem could be tackled.

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Miriam Frankel

Science Editor

Copenhagen, where people enjoy each other’s company – and the proximity to the water. Fedor Selivanov/Shutterstock

Depression is more common in the suburbs than in city centres – new research

Karen Chen, Yale University; Stephan Barthel, Stockholm University

Areas of Danish towns and cities with fewer people and more cars come with a higher risk of depression.

Brian A. Jackson / Shutterstock

‘We will track you down’: how the UK government is reviving the troubling ‘scrounger’ stereotype

Leo Woodend, University of Leeds

The idea that people are cheating the benefits system has a long history in British society.


Tackling sexual misconduct in the NHS will require education and empowerment – not just words

Sarah Steele, University of Cambridge

A new report reveals that more than 35,000 incidents of sexual misconduct have occurred in the NHS over the past five years. But the true number is likely much higher.

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