Health Benefits of Green Space: Win-Win

Written by Liz Perry on October 25th 2016.

Partners for Active Living works to promote child wellness, develop trails and parks, and create walking and bicycling opportunities for everyone in the Spartanburg area. Helping develop green space is an integral part of all three of those focus areas.

Over the past ten years, researchers focusing on access to green space have yielded wide ranging, impressive results for a number of health indicators.

The University of Washington released a compilation of research results in their Green Cities: Good Health report (http://tinyurl.com/o6vt9vv) that included this fact list:

  • The experience of nature helps to restore the mind from the mental fatigue of work or studies, contributing to improved work performance and satisfaction.

  • Urban nature, when provided as parks and walkways and incorporated into building design, provides calming and inspiring environments and encourages learning, inquisitiveness, and alertness.

  • Green spaces provide necessary places and opportunities for physical activity. Exercise improves cognitive function, learning, and memory.

  • Outdoor activities can help alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer’s, dementia, stress, and depression and improve cognitive function in those recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

  • Contact with nature helps children to develop cognitive, emotional, and behavioral connections to their nearby social and biophysical environments. Nature experiences are important for encouraging imagination and creativity, cognitive and intellectual development, and social relationships.

  • Symptoms of ADD in children can be reduced through activity in green settings, thus “green time” can act as an effective supplement to traditional medicinal and behavioral treatments.

The takeaway message is that access to green space benefits everyone in the community. The last two bullet points are especially relevant to the Outdoor Learning Environment work happening at 5 childcare centers in the county.

And there’s more. CitiesSpeak.org correlates access parks and public spaces with economic advantages in this article http://tinyurl.com/jqj7sm2. The author notes “No longer should parks just be looked at as the green spaces and refuges throughout a town or city; rather, they should be viewed as valuable assets that can generate economic and social returns to constituents, governments, and the private sector.”

Supporting development of more green space in Spartanburg is a health win and an economic win.

 

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