Green Spaces in Urban Places


What if you knew about an ingredient that was proven to increase both individual and community health; would you want everyone to know about it, and subscribe to it? Scientific research has shown that healthy urban ecosystems are linked to safer neighborhoods, lower crime, decreased attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, reduced anxiety, and lessened aggression. The secret ingredient to reattain the health of the people and the planet already occurs naturally. We have to focus on re-injecting them back into their indigenous region. Green natural landscapes are the ingredient necessary for vitality, but these landscapes are being removed through rapid urbanization. Green environments not only have proved to promote social and mental health, they produce positive outcomes for physical health.

 An estimated 91% of people in urban areas breathe in polluted air. Many non-communicable diseases occur as a result of living conditions within urban development.

Urbanization is contributing to the decline in human and environmental health.  The human population within cities will double in the next 30 years. The effects of climate change are becoming a great challenge to cities across the world. These urban environments are a big contributing factor to climate change. Urban development will have to evolve towards sustainable development. A renewed relationship with the environment is necessary. The issues that come from urbanization are increasingly getting worse. Urbanization is happening more often in areas where the population is increasing the fastest. The poorest populations are being affected by the ill effects of urbanization. 

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease, are collectively responsible for 74% of all deaths worldwide. More than three-quarters of all NCD deaths, and 86% of the 17 million people who died prematurely, or before reaching 70 years of age, occur in low- and middle-income countries. 

Industrialization is one of the major causes for urbanization. The opportunities for employment are greater. Commercialization is also a major contributing factor that leads to Urbanization. Goods are promoted and distributed which leads to services being provided and economic markets being created. Social benefits and services are greater in urbanized areas because of the greater population of people. Healthcare education and sanitation services are more developed in most urban areas. Because urbanization and modernization go hand and hand, most people believe that they can lead happier lives in urban areas. The latest in technology, infrastructure, and amenities is all offered in urbanized areas. Sometimes areas become urbanized due to the discovery of natural resources which get exploited and this opportunity attracts more people.

How does contact with nature promote human health? The greening of urban space should happen in urban developments. The more densely populated an urban area is, the higher the need for open areas. The solution to urbanization and all the devastating problems that come along with it, is sustainability.

Creating environmentally friendly sustainable spaces eliminates the many problems that urbanization causes. Governments will have to pass laws that will force cities to use environmentally friendly technologies when building within their cities. The laws will push for green technology only in daily business practices. Urban stakeholders must ensure that populations within these areas have access to stable employment. Government officials must provide good educational opportunities and health care services. The people living in urbanized environments must have access to livable wages to pay for the maintenance of their living area and transportation. Population control is another area of focus when solving the problems of urbanization. To reduce high rates of population growth family planning education and clinics must be available to impoverished urbanized areas.






About Author


Nicholas Keen Swearingen

Nicholas Keen Swearingen is an undergraduate majoring in the environmental science and systems program. He is a father residing in Antelope Valley, CA, working full-time for the local High school. As a long-time social activist, he enjoys learning about the many benefits of natural green spaces. When Nicholas is not working or studying, he is in motion out in nature skateboarding, surfing, cycling, hiking, or teaching his daughter and community about the many benefits of finding balance with our ecosystems. ●

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