Green spaces may welcome their previous, natural inhabitants to urban environments is essential to creating a more sustainable future.
Over the past few decades, cities worldwide have suffered from an ever decreasing amount of greenery. As city populations exploded, more space was exploited to make room for new residences and businesses. This amounted to a reduction in natural vegetation and an escalating population density. At the city level, residents lost parks and sidewalk trees to concrete. Although this seemed like a harmless albeit unpleasant progression at the time, the adverse effects of this encroachment soon arose.
There are several reasons why this change proved to be expensive and unproductive. Still, most importantly, it is essential to point out the gradual effect a lack of greenery had on residents. It has been scientifically proven that plants and open, green spaces positively affect mood and temperament. In fact, a common issue for people living in urban environments is the lack of a connection to the natural world. Residents in more vegetated areas of a city report better mental health and a better awareness of environmental conservation and protection.
However, the financial aspect of cities with lower vegetation is another major concern. A particularly severe issue in some geographical locations is natural disasters, such as floods. This may occur because vegetation and the natural environment of particular areas were designed to preserve themselves within that climate. For example, in areas prone to flooding, the area’s natural plant life and soil composition developed to survive flooding events. Flooding may be more common without the vegetation to bind the soil together and absorb excess water.
Urban residents in areas with greenery are consistently more concerned with sustainability and protecting the natural environment. This may lead to undertaking more initiatives in environmental concerns, such as climate change, sustainability, and conservation.
Urban environments are also notoriously tricky to climate control. The biggest consumer of energy is heating and cooling systems in large cities. A major part of this problem is the fact that cities are terrible at conducting heat. This means that many cities hold on to heat throughout the summer, leading to exuberant cooling expenses through air conditioning. When vegetation and greenery is present in an urban environment, they naturally absorb and diffuse heat. Cities that adopt more greenery can expect to lower their energy consumption and enjoy more comfortable climate control.
Unsurprisingly, cities are also well known for their noise pollution. Natural areas bordering cities experience high noise pollution from their neighbors, causing wildlife distress and endangerment. Even hardened city dwellers become annoyed with excessive noise pollution, and many prime apartment buildings and residential areas go to great lengths to noise-proof their living spaces. However, vegetation reduces noise pollution by absorbing noise as it travels through an open area. Spaces that are primarily concrete experience greater noise pollution as sound waves reflect off unobstructed surfaces, echoing and traveling further.
Of course, preserving the natural environment is also an important aspect of bringing greenery back to urban spaces. Older cities may seem as though they have not replaced anything, but just a few short centuries ago, forms of wildlife could be found within many modern cities. This includes various species of birds, insects, and vegetation. Bringing biodiversity back to cities is an important method of combating habitat loss, especially to urban sprawl and development. By offering particular spaces dedicated to greenery and vegetation.
Integrating green spaces in a city may welcome its previous, natural inhabitants to urban environments is essential to creating a more sustainable future. In addition to making space for natural biodiversity, greenery also helps prevent pollution. Vegetation in urban spaces have been shown to absorb and reduce some forms of pollution, such as air pollution. However, green spaces do a lot more than what their physical presence may indicate. As mentioned previously, green spaces often bring environmental awareness back to the consciousness of city dwellers. Urban residents in areas with greenery are consistently more concerned with sustainability and protecting the natural environment. This may lead to undertaking more initiatives in environmental concerns, such as climate change, sustainability, and conservation.
Designers, architects, and city planners need to focus on sustainable methods of subtly integrating greenery in cities. Ultimately, it is important to appreciate the fact that there is enough space for everyone. Integrating green spaces and urban environments simply means finding harmony, allowing both to thrive better. Vegetation has proven to be essential to resident well-being and the overall efficiency of any given city.
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