Why We Need Green Spaces in Cities?


high-angle photography of high-rise buildings

As urbanization continues, the need for clean and green spaces has increased. Experts of urban planning and environmentalists alike have highlighted how the urban concrete jungles are unsustainable, and dwindling green spaces indicators of bad city health. In this blog we will outline the need for green spaces, and the ways to increase green to concrete ratio.

Importance of Green Spaces:

Experts estimate that by the year 2050, 68% of the global population will live in cities. Researchers also estimate that nine million people die every year as a direct result of air pollution. As cities grow and more people move into already busy spaces, there is a pressing need for transforming urban areas into healthy places to live. Therefore, green spaces are integral for a city for a number of reasons.  The prolonged presence of pollutants causes harmful smog which is an environmental menace, and hazardous to human health. A case in point is Pakistan’s city Lahore’s smog which has proven to be hazardous not only for people’s health but for agriculture, as well as daily life. Haze halts transportation activities, thereby, affecting a chain of trading activities in the region. When there are more green spaces, this issue can also be tackled.

Effect on Health:

Studies have shown that green spaces have profound effects on human health. People not only ‘feel’ better when there is greenery, but overall health of individuals also improves. Studies have shown that cities with high numbers of parks battle obesity and diabetes. Recent studies in the Netherlands and Japan show that people near to green space had better health and overall lower mortality rates. Even relatively passive contact with nature—such as viewing it from a window—lowers blood pressure and anxiety levels.

How to increase green spaces?

We can develop green spaces by developing parks within each housing society, planting trees along roads. Especially those which are the busiest, also leaving open ‘safe’ places in cities where local species of trees can be planted. No irrelevant people should be allowed to venture out in the conserved or protected areas as saplings planted here can grow up to be dense forests in the future.

One important example to cite in this regard is Singapore. It is also known as “Garden City.” Even high-rises in Singapore have to integrate plants in their layouts. It’s not uncommon to see vertical gardens—climbers covering walls of buildings—and green roofs in apartment complexes in the city-state. And Singapore keeps trying out new ways to reduce emissions and improve the air quality. 

Civic authorities should also ensure that in cities with a higher population, there is an equi-proportion land under green cover. It is also essential that environmentalists research and plant those varieties of trees that are of that particular area, rather than planting species that might not be suitable.

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