As we all know by now, spending time in mother nature is incredibly beneficial to our overall well-being. However, unlike those living in rural locations where nature is all around them, people who live in urban areas and large cities don’t have the luxury of simply stepping outside to connect with the nature, or what’s left of it.
For people most living cities, their only quick nature escape is to a nearby public green space. Open green spaces include parks, community gardens, school gardens, playgrounds, public seating areas, public seating areas, and vacant lots.
Open green space provides recreational areas for residents and helps to enhance the beauty and environmental quality of neighborhoods. Urban green spaces provide people with limited access to the great outdoors a little taste of it, but that’s not their only advantage. We’ve listed below some of the top benefits that are associated with the existence of green spaces in cities.
Physical & Mental Health Benefits
Studies suggest that there are four interacting pathways through which green space can affect health and well-being: (1) improved air quality, (2) enhanced physical activity, (3) stress compensation, and (4) greater social cohesion.
Some of these health benefits that are offered to those have access to green spaces include:
- Overall improved mental health, which can be attributed to:
- Enhanced relaxation and reduced stress/anxiety
- Improved general mood and attitude
- Improvement of social capital. Social relationships play an important role when it comes to our health and well-being. Green spaces promote and foster social networking by providing people a great place to spend time with family and friends, or even to meet new people
- Active involvement in community greening and nature restoration projects also produces social benefits, such as solidifying intergenerational ties and organizational empowerment
- Boosted immune system
- Green spaces facilitate an active lifestyle and provide people a place to exercise, so those who have access to green spaces can benefit from enhanced physical activity and improved fitness and cardiovascular health
- Because pavement holds onto a lot of heat, replacing it with green spaces is beneficial and helps mitigate the impacts of urban heat island effect, which is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “built up areas that are hotter than nearby rural areas.”
- These impacts include increased energy usage, increased air pollutants and greenhouse gases, impaired water quality, and compromised human health and comfort
- Because soil removes carbon from the air, urban backyard and green spaces can contribute to reducing carbon emission levels in cities, not only making the air cleaner for its residents, but also playing an important part in combatting climate change
- Parks promote conservation and environmental sustainability
- According to a report by the NPRA, parks help conserve natural resources and wildlife habitat, protect air and water quality, and preserve open space for current and future generations
Studies also show that well-planned parks and green spaces can also have many economic benefits.
- Access to green spaces can increase property values
- Green spaces foster job creation and provide a foundation for place-based economic development
- Because well-known or popular parks (such as Central Park, for example) attract people from other regions, they help increase tourism, bringing additional income to the city
How Kiwi Energy Can Help
Despite these many benefits, global urbanization has reduced access to and engagement with green space. Kiwi Energy recognizes the importance of green spaces to people living in cities. Through the Ecogold Environmental Fund, Kiwi Energy is able to support organizations working to improve green infrastructure, like Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, who’s objective is to develop and maintain the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. In addition to maintaining the 26-mile route, BGI also works to create additional open spaces along the greenway route in order to provide opportunities for development in nature and relief from the built environment, such as the Naval Cemetery Landscape.
Kiwi Energy has maintained a strong partnership with BGI over the years and has supported many of its functions, including the BGI Half Marathon & 5K, which is happening this year on October 6. Visit https://events.elitefeats.com/october-6-2019-brooklyn-greenway-half-marathon-5k to sign up for this year’s ride.