Big city life: New study explores urban living in Asia and its effects on mental wellbeing

Hong Kong, July 5, 2018 – The Economist Intelligence Unit, supported by Pure Group, announces the release of the report “Making Space: Analysing the costs of overcrowding to five cities in Asia.” As a leading health and wellness group in the region, Pure Group seeks to better address problematic issues that continually arise due to urbanisation and is dedicated to bringing effective solutions to the market for urbanites.

Caption: The Economist Intelligence Unit conducted a survey, supported by Pure Group, on “Making Space”, and the effects of urban living on well-being in Asian metropolis. The research results are announced today followed by a panel discussion joined by (left to right) Mr. Colin Grant, Chief Executive Officer, The Pure Group; Dr Juan Chen, Associate Head of The Department of Applied Social Sciences at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Mr. Anson Wong, Associate Director of Hong Kong Public Space Initiative; Professor Mee Kam Ng, Director of The Urban Studies Programme at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Mr. Michael Gold, Senior Editor, Asia-Pacific, The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Cities in Asia are some of the most over-crowded in the world, and there is a common perception that living in dense urban areas can create feelings of stress and mental pressure. While this is largely true, it is only part of the larger narrative. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has conducted a survey, supported by Pure Group, of 1,000 residents across five cities in East and South-east Asia: Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei. The results present an interesting perspective of how the pressures of urban living differ across cities, reflecting the unique challenges that urbanites face in addressing stress and mental pressure.

Urban density across the five citiesSource: Demographia

Space in different cities In Hong Kong, over 60% of the survey’s participants agreed with the notion that they lack sufficient personal space, while approximately 65% of Shanghai and Beijing participants felt similarly. This is an interesting discovery given that Hong Kong is in fact the most densely populated city among the five surveyed. However, this discrepancy can partly be attributed to an abundance of robust infrastructure in the city; indeed, the World Economic Forum ranks Hong Kong first on a global list of quality of physical infrastructure. The city’s advanced infrastructure provides short commute times, which allow for more time to be spent with family and friends – an important factor for overall happiness.

Chart II: Future Perspective on Overcrowding Looking ahead three years, to what extent do you believe overcrowding will be a problem in your city, compared to today? Share selecting “much bigger problem”

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit

Facing the future With 60% the population of Hong Kong already feeling the strain of overpopulation, there is concern for the years to come. Indeed, 22% of the Hongkongers surveyed predict that overcrowding will be a much bigger problem in three years’ time due a continued increase in population.

Chart V: Activities to Destress Do you engage in any of the following activities as a means of relaxation and stress- relief?Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit

Sweat out the stress Unlike Beijing and Shanghai urbanites, the survey reveals that Hongkongers prefer to watch movies or TV to destress rather than take part in exercise. While consuming entertainment is a popular way to destress, it does not have the long-term benefits of exercise, which can aid in concentration and boost morale. Hongkongers may opt for indoor activities due to the tropical environment that can restrict time spent outdoors, whereas there is more readily available outdoor space to enjoy physical activity in Chinese cities.

In the extended study into how people relax, it is important to note that yoga and meditation are only used to relax by 10% of those in the survey. Despite both yoga and meditation being widely known for their health benefits, they come in under drinking, clubbing, karaoke and using social media as a way to relax. Considering that people who live in cities are more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders, yoga and meditation would be healthier activities compared to the alternative options. This is supported by Pure Group’s 2017 Wellbeing Survey which found that of the 1,222 Pure Cardholders surveyed 95% reported becoming happier and 95% reported that they felt less stressed after practicing yoga.

Pure Cities campaign – Calm Amidst the Chaos In response to these findings, Pure Group have launched their new Pure Cities initiative to find calm amidst the chaos. The research-driven campaign is leading the dialogue on how to find physical and mental space in a busy city and provides urbanites with the tools needed to unwind. The campaign is regional, with interactive Pure Cities maps for Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai Singapore and Taipei. The maps feature Pure teacher’s favourite places to find mental space amid the city’s hustle and bustle and the public are invited to submit their favourite spots too.

Pure Yoga believes in the power of yoga to help people lead happier, healthier and more balanced lives. It offers a variety of yoga classes including five different types of 30- minutes meditation classes to quiet our mind and to experience the peace inside. With different techniques, from breath control, yogic sleep, flow of sound, mindful movement to gazing, there is a class to suit all amidst the hectic city life.

About Pure Yoga Pure Yoga offers exceptional teaching, facilities and environments that inspire people of all ages and abilities to make yoga part of their lives. With locations in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei and New York, Pure Yoga connects practitioners and teachers on a global level by fulfilling diverse needs through various yoga offerings and a team of internationally recognised teachers. Complementing group classes, private sessions and group privates are community events, workshops with guest yoga teachers from around the globe, Teacher Trainings, Continuing Education for Teachers programmes, and retreats in idyllic locales. For those wanting to take their practice beyond the studio, we offer MyPureYoga.com – an online yoga video platform that enables yoga on the go with access to a library of yoga videos in English and Chinese.

About The Pure Group Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Hong Kong, The Pure Group is Asia’s leading premium lifestyle brand that includes Pure Yoga, MyPureYoga.com, Pure Fitness, Pure Apparel and nood food. Pure Group has locations in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei and New York. Pure Yoga has a wide variety of yoga and meditation classes and private yoga programmes, including workshops with renowned teachers from all over the world. Pure Fitness offers the industry’s best from around the globe, encompassing strength and cardio training in addition to dynamic group classes led by passionate world-class instructors. Together with Pure Apparel’s performance activewear and nood food’s innovative organic health foods and cold-pressed juices, the Pure Group is an integrated community dedicated to helping people lead a happier, balanced 360 ̊ lifestyle. The Group currently has over 80,000 clients and more than 1,900 employees.

About The Economist Intelligence Unit: The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world leader in global business intelligence. It is the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, which publishes The Economist newspaper. The Economist Intelligence Unit helps executives make better decisions by providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis on worldwide market trends and business strategies. More information can be found at www.eiu.com or www.twitter.com/theeiu.

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