It is true that Green Open spaces have impacts on modern day issues, but do they solve those issues? If yes, are there impacts on health and environment? An article by evergreen (2015?) states that Open Green Spaces help reduce air filtration of dust and contaminants, which improves air quality, also climate. They also help in limiting nitrate deposition from soil to water sources and reduce water pollution with pollutants such as phosphorus. Moreover, Open Green Spaces provide shady places, which help reduce urban temperatures, and therefore increase air humidity through evaporative cooling.
There is a beneficial impact of urban area vegetation in urban areas on ambient air quality when it contributes to air pollution removal and carbon sequestration, as confirmed by many studies. (Konijnendijk et al., 2013; Setälä, Viippola, Rantalainen, Pennanen & Yli-Pelkonen, 2013)
Research studies found that an Open Green Space in an urban environment Maintains soil cohesion, reduces erosion, reduces dust storms, and prevents soil from reaching lakes and streams. It also helps increase the oxygen required for living organisms, and reduce carbon dioxide. As per Evergreen (2015?) One tree consumes 26 pounds (about 11.8 kg) of carbon dioxide per year.
It is also said that Open Green Spaces help reduce the consumption of fossil fuels used for cooling and heating. Trees planted in urban areas reduce the heat of homes in summer, which increases the efficiency of air conditioners by 2-4%, reduces their energy consumption, and the presence of trees increases the ability of the sun to heat homes winter. Increases the soil’s ability to retain rainwater. (Evergreen, 2015?)
Do Open Green Spaces affect other aspects besides environmental aspects?
Open Green Spaces appear to have a very big impact on physical and mental health, especially because they encourage a healthy lifestyle. It provides places for physical activities such as hiking and cycling, which reduces the deaths from physical inactivity, estimated at 3.2 million deaths a year. (evergreen, 2015) These benefits include improved physical health and wellbeing – they reduce the risk of lifestyle related diseases, higher survival rate of other diseases, improve quality of life and long term health, and, in young people and children healthy growth and development. Open Green Spaces also Improve mental health – build individual self-esteem and self-image, reduce stress, improves concentration and enhances memory and learning.
WA Department of Sport and Recreation, (2009) states that Green Spaces help enhance social outcomes. As they encourage social interaction and development of social skills, improve social networks and social capital, as well as increase community cohesion and pride, and safer communities. One study found that it is three times more likely for people who use public open spaces to achieve recommended levels of physical activity than people who do not use the spaces. Attractive, larger parks and open spaces are more preferable by users and potential users. (Wolf, 2008)
Many studies indicate that just being in an environment where green spaces are abundant or physical activity in natural places provides many of the health and psychological benefits of humans, including, Within a good layout that can mask a lot of street noise and unwanted lights. Increase self-esteem, increase the ability of individuals to think clearly, and cope with the pressures of daily life, and reduce the incidence of subversive, and crimes. Provide a better atmosphere for study. (United Nations, n.d.)
Another study indicates that Open Green spaces play a role in: Improving health, due to the presence of humans near plants reduces blood pressure, muscle tension caused by tension, feelings of fear and anger. Reducing the symptoms of attention deficit disorder in children, which occurs when the child is in a place that has green spaces, or just watch the green areas of the window. Improve mood, enhance physical and emotional health, and increase the ability to communicate with others. Contribute to improving mental health, and reduce depression. Reducing mortality from cardiovascular disease, as well as reducing obesity, and diabetes. Finally yet importantly, reduces death from heart attacks or stroke caused by high temperatures and sunstroke, because of their role in lowering temperatures and improving the climate. (Evergreen, 2015) (United Nations, 1997)
C O N C L U S I O N :
Open green Spaces do play a role in enhancing and benefitting the environmental values of an area. As they offer great opportunities for positive change and sustainable development for our cities. Open public spaces for walking, cycling, playing and other outdoor activities can improve safe mobility and basic services for women, the elderly and children, as well as low-income populations, thereby promoting health equity. The integration of public health priorities into the development of public spaces provides a mutually beneficial approach in urban areas. A healthy approach to health issues when planning public green spaces can provide the greatest number of common benefits.
Open green spaces are an important element that must be maintained within and outside urban areas because of its aesthetic value, and more importantly its health and environmental impact on human life. It is important to educate communities about the importance of green spaces, how to preserve them and their biodiversity, and encourage societies to make the most secure and optimal use of them.