Green cities are no longer a theory, they are a reailty!! As urbanisation continues to increase, our disconnection to nature is not only prevalent in our urbanised society, but psychological disorders are rising in diagnosis.
The greening of urban areas is something that cities are beginning to adopt in hope to gain a variety of benefits for not only their inhabitants but physical environment surroundings too. The idea behind the greening of cities is to make urban areas more liveable, and to make nature more accessible to all who live there.
It may come as a surprise to learn that people walking in nature vs urban areas experience less activity in the brain linked to repetitive thoughts focused on negative emotion. This can give us a clue in determining that nature has an effect on our emotional well-being.
A recent experiment in Philadelphia has concluded that the greening of empty lots is psychologically beneficial, with participants reporting a 41% drop in feelings of depression and 62% drop in feelings of self-reported poor mental health.
Toronto has demonstrated leadership in greening buildings through the creation of a bylaw that encourages the adoption of green roofs to all new city buildings over a certain size.
China is just one other example of greening city life. The new Forest City to be built by 2020 will be host to 40,000 trees, which will help to reduce air pollution.
Trees and greenery in cities filter pollution from the air, provide shade, and cool down urban areas. This cooling effect can aid in reduction of energy consumption caused by overheating of paved areas. Furthermore, as plant roots keep soil in place, plant life aids in prevention of sediment run off into waterways, as well as aiding in prevention of flooding.
Fast Fact: 2,500 square feet of turf absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releases enough oxygen for a family of four to breathe.
Cheers to a greener future!
It is said that a 90 minute walk in the woods can help lower risk of depression. Next time you are feeling heavy burdened or a little low, take to the outdoors and catch a breath of fresh air.