Thursday 6 February 2014

The Value of Green Space

Increased incidences of mental illness have been shown to exist in cities. Conversely living near green spaces has been shown to reduce mental distress. A new study confirms the strong link between well being and green spaces. The study is based on 10,000 individuals finds strong correlations between the lower mental distress and well being for people who live in urban areas with more green space.

This confirms the importance of providing green areas in cities and specifically, near to where people live and work, so that this can be experienced everyday. Given that many of our cities are already developed and some have limited parks and gardens, how can more green spaces be provided?

This could be achieved by:

  • Taking over derelict urban areas and developing these as food and ornamental gardens.
  • Upgrading and greening 'brown route networks'  (see Green and Brown networks).
  • Requiring all buildings to provide areas of green. On tight congested sites this could be provided in the form of planted beds, roof gardens and creepers or vertical gardens. 
  • Requiring buildings and sites which develop, or already have gardens, to make these publicly accessible and share these with neighbors and passersby. 
These requirements have been included as criteria in the BEST and SBAT tools, which aim to support the integration of sustainability into the built environment.

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