The Importance of Parks and Open Spaces
Date published 26 May 2020
The Importance of Parks
Perhaps one of the elements of urban planning that are taken for granted most often, recreational areas and parks are important for a vast number of reasons.
They provide the opportunity for far-reaching benefits on the health, economy, and natural environment of your local community. If you are wondering why parks matter, we break it down below.
Health Benefits of Parks
The health benefits of parks are diverse. There are not many places better than a public park for getting active, with the open spaces providing a blank canvas for you to enjoy any number of active pursuits.
Parks and green spaces allow for outdoor activities that can provide several health benefits. Providing a space with room for play allows for flying a kite, playing with a pet, or any number of other activities that are great for getting some vitamin D alongside physical activity. Regular sporting events can even be established at parks, providing a place for communities to get active and fit in a more competitive setting.
The positive health effects of parks go beyond physical fitness. A study by a group of Finnish researchers found that urban green environments had a distinctly positive effect on stress levels in as little as ten minutes. This was compared to stress levels when the subjects were placed in the city centre. This field experiment proved that spending time in a more natural setting as opposed to a built-up setting can work in de-stressing and improving mental wellbeing.
Parks are often used for community health initiatives such as boot camps and fitness classes. This provides an environment where small, community businesses can succeed and work wonders for the local economy, while also continuing to help the population stay happy and healthy!
Economic Benefits of Parks
Every park is going to look a little different, based off a few factors. Climate, urban planning arrangements, geographical location all contribute to the shape that your green space is going to take. As such, the economic benefits of parks also vary. They do, however, provide a great opportunity for a flourishing local community!
As previously stated, some parks are perfect for more active endeavours. This could include fitness classes, park runs, sporting events and more. By facilitating an environment where people can be active, there is opportunity for local businesses and organisations to grow and thrive. This can be helped along through clever infrastructure to encourage this kind of use. Think water fountains, grandstands, shelters and more!
In other scenarios, your park may be a slightly less urbanised environment. In this case, it’s possible to capitalise on the tourism economy, attracting adventurers to hiking trails or lookouts that are part of your park. This can also contribute to conservation efforts, allowing for preservation of our natural environment.
Environmental Benefits of Parks
Parks can have hugely positive environmental effects. In a localised context, parks provide a more natural middle ground between urban and natural environments, providing natural habitat for naturally occurring flora and fauna.
Parks often include trees and vegetation, which has a positive impact on the overall air quality of the area. Trees remove pollutants, provide oxygen, and look great!
Groundwater can also be displaced because of urbanised suburbs and city centres. Parks provide an opportunity for town planners to better manage groundwater and prevent flooding.
Why Urban Parks Matter
The importance of parks in terms of their potential health, economic and environmental benefits is seemingly overlooked. As town planners, green space provides a great opportunity to improve quality of life within any given cityscape.
Need help elevating your park to the next level? At Urban Effects, we are experts in urban and park furniture. We can help you to meet the needs of your community green space! Contact us today.