Why Urban Green Spaces Are Essential to the Future of Sustainability

Over the course of time, the percentage of people living in urban environments has risen to over 80 percent. With the numbers steadily on the rise, ecological systems that are essential to our survival are being destroyed and replaced by buildings and concrete. The likelihood of reversing this trend is low. However, people living in urban communities can still create green spaces in their neighborhoods. They are necessary for the future of sustainability.

Improvement to Air Quality

With the use of more cars and buses comes an increase in air pollution. This is especially true when it comes to life in densely populated cities. However, trees and shrubs are able to cleanse the air. According to a study conducted in 2010, trees were able to remove over seven hundred thousand tonnes of pollution from the air in the US. As a result, the rates of respiratory ailments went down.

Reduction of Energy Costs and Usage

Proper placement of trees and bushes will reduce the overall temperature in a neighborhood. Under normal circumstances, asphalt and building walls absorb and reflect heat from the sun. However, trees and bushes that shade asphalt and buildings will reduce the amount of heat they absorb. As a result, less heat is reflected back into the air.

When placed near east and west-facing windows, household energy costs can be reduced by up to 35 percent during the summer months. By blocking oncoming winds during the winter, trees and bushes can reduce household heating costs by up to 30 percent.

Purifies the Water Supply

Green spaces in urban environments are beneficial to the water supply. In areas with a lot of concrete structures, water has nowhere to go other than through a storm drain. Unfortunately, water that travels along asphalt has time to pick up pollutants along its journey. An urban sustainability specialist with an OU Master in Civil Engineering degree says green spaces act as natural water purifiers. Plants and soil are able to absorb rainwater and remove the toxins. When it is released into the water supply, it is less harmful and require less treatment to be useable.

Places for People to Connect

In times like these, green spaces are essential for providing community members with opportunities to get connected. Parks provide safe places for children to play and socialize outdoors. This will significantly impact the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic.

Many adults would love the opportunity to connect with more people in their urban communities. Flower and vegetable gardens that are maintained by community members gives each of them an opportunity to connect with unfamiliar people in the area.

Advancements in technology have made certain aspects of living easier. Nevertheless, man-made products will never be able to take the place of nature’s gifts. Urban environments need to create green spaces for the sustainability of the people living in them. Their environmental, social, and economical benefits cannot be rivaled.

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