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The importance of green spaces in cities

Cities that offer quality of life must not only have good services, practical urban furniture and controlled pollution levels, but also make urban green areas available to citizens through environmentally responsible policies.

These green areas are key to improving the health of the population, since they act as lungs that renew the polluted air, while relaxing and supplying a necessary escape to forget the concrete, constituting authentic bubbles of nature that ooze and breathe life.

There are countless studies that have concluded the convenience of having trees near the home, natural spaces in which to exercise, take a walk or simply sit down to read, talk or do any other activity. Here we explain the importance of green spaces in cities .

You may also be interested in: Portland, the greenest city in the US

Green spaces: definition

green space , also known as a green area or green area , is a delimited terrain in which there is vegetation. It can be a forest, a jungle, a park or a garden, but it must be delimited and have vegetation. In addition, when we speak of urban green spaces we refer to those that are within a city or an urban agglomeration. However, not all green areas are the same and, when we talk about green spaces, as in this article, we usually refer to some in particular. These green spaces can be distinguished into two types:

  • Natural green spaces : they are those that have developed naturally, without human intervention.
  • Unnatural green spaces : they are those that have been created by man and their origin coincides with the moment when natural green areas began to decrease.

The definition given by the national environmental commission is that urban green areas, or in the periphery of cities, are areas occupied by plants, shrubs or trees whose uses can be variable, they can be given ecological uses, leisure, decoration, rehabilitation, protection or all / some together.

Importance of green areas in cities

Decrease violence

An interesting line of research relates violent behavior with the lack of these places, proposing a greener urban landscape to combat it, according to a survey by Temple University in the United States.

Increase life expectancy

From a positive approach, natural environments promote creativity, mental and emotional capacities , so urban green areas would help improve longevity and quality of life for its inhabitants. Since contact with nature has been shown to benefit in the long term, urban planners have a great resource for designing cities intelligently, making them more livable. Not surprisingly, parks, gardens and small groves are true oases in the middle of the urban jungle, valuable resources to improve health and well-being.

Healthier sport

For years, there has been a lot of talk about the importance of practicing sports regularly and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle. However, research carried out by specialists from the Australian University of Queensland has shown that practicing this exercise in green areas is much more beneficial than doing it in other areas of the city where there is asphalt and cars.

Improve social relationships

If there is one thing that everyone detests about urban agglomerations, it is noise and crowds. Pradoxically, one of the consequences of crowds -as well as noise- is that social relations between neighbors are weakened, something that causes the feeling of community to be lost. This lack of community feeling ends up causing individuals to fail to integrate, in part because there is nothing to integrate into. Another thing to keep in mind is that studies show that a feeling of community and good social relationships reduce mortality levels, suicide rates and increase levels of health, both mental and physical.

Create ecological awareness

All studies indicate that one of the most important things when it comes to creating ecological awareness is being able to live nature. It does not matter whether it is at home, in parks or in the mountains, living nature and being in contact with it is the fundamental factor for us to worry about it and try to conserve it. With classes or just explaining it, it is not enough for children to understand the importance of conserving nature, living it and loving it – for example with urban green areas – it is what will create that awareness.

Urban green areas: examples

Next we will talk about some of the most representative examples of urban green areas in some cities:

  • New York : in this American city you will find what, surely, is the most emblematic and famous urban green area in the world. It is Central Park, the scene of numerous films, with 341 hectares of forest, park, lakes, bridges and sculptures that make it the most visited park in the world and the lung of the Big Apple.
  • Barcelona : the Parc de la Ciutadella is, although much smaller than the one in Manhattan, the lung of the city. In its 17 hectares there is a lake, monuments, walking and leisure areas, and even the Parliament of Catalonia and the zoo.
  • Madrid : the Spanish capital also has a large urban green area, the famous Parque del Retiro, a garden with great history converted into a public park in the 19th century and considered to be of cultural interest.

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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