Are parks really that important? How about having green spaces to connect with nature if you live in an urban environment? These are questions that many city officials and urban planners continue to ask themselves as they strive to make their cities more livable and improve the health and happiness of their citizenry. While some cities have large, lush green spaces where residents can surround themselves with nature and connect to trees, plants, animals, and things other than concrete (think of New York City’s Central Park), many urban areas have few places to reconnect with nature.
When looking at the benefits of protecting existing green spacesand introducing new ones to cities, there are a wide variety of positives. The Bodine Street Community Garden in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States has been an urban green space since 1980. Their website has a section dedicated to the benefits of green spaces and the importance of protecting urban green spaces.
Urban green spaces have a number of benefits including environmental benefits such as reducing city temperature during the summer months and absorbing rainwater runoff, to aesthetic reasons such as adding color and beauty to concrete buildings. There are also emotional reasons that may be harder to quantify, such as the feelings of happiness and peace some people find when they are around nature.
The site thematically explores the different benefits of urban green spaces: Ecological Benefits, Social Benefits, Environmental Benefits, and Other. It also looks at the benefits of community gardens, such as providing food to community members; introducing people of all ages to gardening and how food is grown, providing a healthy activity in the form of planting, weeding and harvesting; and a huge variety of benefits for individuals, communities, and society.
What are some ecological benefits?
“Green spaces provide habitat for a variety of birds, fish, animals, insects, and other organisms, while also providing corridors and greenways to link habitats.
They prevent soil erosion and absorb rainwater, thereby improving drainage.
Trees have been shown to absorb pollutants; as few as 20 trees can offset the pollution from a car driven 60 miles per day.”
What are some social benefits?
“[They provide] recreational use: a place to play, meditate, gather, or rest.
Green spaces introduce the natural into the urban environment.
Green spaces foster a connection between community residents and the natural environment that surrounds them, thus allowing for a more livable city. This is essential in order for a community to be sustainable.”
For more information on everything from the social benefits of urban green spaces in to how community gardens can make you closer to your neighbors and improve your health, check out this site!