Health and well-being may be just around the corner.
Why green is good
Most of our history as human beings has been spent outdoors, so keeping ourselves cooped up inside buildings and houses seems almost unnatural. Because of growth, densely populated metros have gobbled up most of the green spaces. Studies reveal negative consequences when we don’t have access to parks, trees, nature trails and waterways. This can pave the way for poor health, poverty and even crime.
Research scientists Viniece Jennings, Ph.D., with the United States Forest Service and Lincoln R. Larson, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University, are working hard to prove why public parks and green spaces are good for our individual mental and physical health, as well as the well-being of the surrounding communities.
City of parks
The state of Minnesota may be the land of 10,000 lakes, but in Minneapolis, the park system is the crown jewel, at least according to the Trust for Public Land, which rated the city’s park system the best in the country multiple years in a row. Jayne Miller, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board superintendent since 2010, says that the park system has a long and rich history. Created by the legislature in 1883 and ratified by the voters, the parks board has been operating independently from the city and managing the park system for 134 years.
A case for green space
Parks are about planning
It’s clear that the people who work and run city parks and recreation agencies have a common dedication to improving the quality of life in their respective communities.
Because of the urban planning that took place in the 1980s, when Plano was a small but burgeoning bedroom community, most of the neighborhoods were built around schools with a park in the center within every square mile. It took a lot of different departments and groups, including the public working together, but it was important to the city to maximize the open space and make sure kids are next to schools and parks.
Chris Libby is the Section Editor for Live Happy magazine. His last feature story was Find Your Funny Bone.