The Greening Of America’s Cities

Not so very long ago living in a city meant rarely seeing a blade of grass, wildflower, or even large trees. The city sidewalks, large buildings, and roads took up every available inch in order to maximize maneuverability. City planners thought this was the best decision for the residents and businesses of their individual cities at the time. Very little was known about the psychological impact of spending time in nature.

The Grass is Always Greener

Where one lives is the most important consideration of what type of grass will grow best in your yard. The problem with living in a city is that there is rarely the space to have a yard, much less cultivate an entire lawn. However, as people began to see less nature throughout their day they began to long for the green turf of childhood.

Finding appropriate lawn seed types is possible in a large city, it just takes some creativity and a willingness to think outside the yard. Some buildings have small areas to the side or at the front of a building where raised beds could be installed and filled with miniature lawns. Those with balconies could even use a large planter to cultivate a miniature field as an escape from the cement and glass of the city.

Benefits of Time in Nature

A surprising amount of research has shown that people benefit greatly from time spent in nature. Some of the benefits include a reduction in stress levels, an increase in the perceived level of happiness, and an improvement in cognitive performance for those who spend even small amounts of time surrounded by nature.

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The Japanese custom of forest bathing has been gaining popularity throughout the world as scientist has confirmed the beneficial nature of spending even modest amounts of time surrounded by trees. The practice bean in 1982. Since that time, documented benefits include reduced production of stress hormones, decreases in blood pressure and heart rate, and a more robust immune system.


Modern City Planning

In many cities, planners have begun taking back portions of their city to create nature areas for the citizens to enjoy. Larger parks, trees and flowers planted throughout the city and even median spaces with thoughtful landscaping.

Unfortunately, not all cities have taken the initiative to create more natural spaces. Citizens who are interested in promoting this type of movement should talk with their city council members, mayor, and other city officials about the benefits of doing so for the health of the citizens of the town and also the financial benefits that may be available for those communities that make a concentrated effort to restore more of the natural environment.

Another way cities can incorporate green spaces is to promote urban agriculture. Food crops and flowers can be cultivated in abandoned lots and many youth groups and charities have demonstrated a strong interest in facilitating this type of community involvement.

As Americans began to realize the great extent to which they effect the environment, they also begin to realize the substantial impact their environment has on them. This has led to people who are more interested in protecting the earth from pollution and a population that is eager to bring nature back into their life. As this trend continues, it is expected that more green spaces will begin to emerge in cities across the United States.

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This feature originally appeared in Ground Report.



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