In recent years, cities nationwide have begun to implement and expand urban greenspace.
Urban greenspaces are defined as green or open spaces that are undeveloped and reserved for public use, such as the Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City.
Millennium Park in Chicago is another classic example of successful urban greenspace.
Millennium Park used to be an industrial wasteland but now encompasses a five-acre garden, the famous bean and countless public art exhibitions.
Greenspaces do not have to, and should not only exist in large industrial cities, but rather their benefits should be reaped in every town or city.
Studies published by Smart Growth stated urban greenspaces reduce stress and anxiety in people, decrease violent crime in cities, protect water quality and improve attendees’ attention and memory.
When described like this, access to urban greenspace is presented as a human right.
Doctors have even written “park prescriptions,” which suggest overweight patients spend more time outdoors.
Urban greenspaces also contribute to the revitalization of unused urban landscapes.
For example, several areas in Saginaw have abandoned businesses.
Those lots should be converted to public land.
Projects enhancing urban greenspace and displaying public art assist in redesigning inclusive downtown areas, which in turn creates jobs and economic success.
Furthermore, unused and unsold plots of land, much like the one adjacent to 7/11, could easily be converted into an urban greenspace.
Planting trees, providing hiking and biking trails or even simply adding a community garden would not only appeal to current and prospective SVSU students, but also to the Saginaw community because it would foster community connections.
Urban greenspaces create safer neighborhoods and allow for citizens’ investment in their town.
When citizens truly feel they own part of an area, it becomes both cleaner and safer.
The addition of a community garden would also help combat food insecurity faced by many college students and members of the tri-city communities.
Urban greenspaces work to counteract existing climate change by filtering pollutants from the air and providing shade for a lower temperature.
Furthermore, urban green spaces help to prevent noise pollution by using trees as a protective method from industrial sound.
During my Alternative Break last spring, I spent time in Asheville, North Carolina, helping improve its urban greenspaces.
Asheville went as far as to give out over 500 free, pre-planted trees to residents, with the promise that those trees would soon scatter Asheville’s land.
Additionally, the tree giveaway soon prompted citywide action driving river clean ups, roadside trash pickups and bringing awareness to Asheville’s environmental sustainability efforts.
In our own community, Dow Gardens provides a popular urban greenspace for Midland’s citizens.
Creating urban green spaces in our communities is vital to their successes, but also essential to your own personal happiness.
Connecting with nature can be both powerful and healing, but is overall proven to simply be healthy.
With growing pressure and anxiety in the world around us, simple plots of peace could be the key to uniting neighborhoods, fostering relationships and moving towards social equality
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