Essential Reasons to Integrate Parks Into Cities

3 Essential Reasons to Integrate Parks Into Cities

There are many reasons to integrate parks into cities. Used as part of a green infrastructure plan, parks help shape urban form and buffer our build environment. They’re safe, naturally beautiful, and serve as green engines to  address several critical urban needs from health to housing, education and environmental justice, even countering urban sprawl to combat crime. Social benefits and bringing together communities through concerts, recreation, and other public events. Integrating parks into cities acts as urban renewal for healthy communities.  Here are three more reasons it’s essential to integrate parks into cities.

1. Integrate Parks Into Cities to Enhance Our Wellbeing

It’s been scientifically studied and proven that having a connection with nature improves the health of humans. Whether that’s through hiking in an urban park, interacting with an animal, or observing a pleasing landscape, the medical benefits of contact with nature is endless (lower blood pressure, lower stress levels, improvement in attention disorders, to name a few).

On a personal note, I feel a sense of calm and balance whenever I pass through a park on my way to work; proof that nature has the power to instill tranquility.

Integrating more natural elements into cities would increase our contact with nature and therefore help to enhance our wellbeing. Furthermore, integrating parks into cities offer physical activity opportunities for people who suffer from obesity, thus increasing the fitness of urban areas.

Central Park in New York City. Photo via Werner Kunz.

Central Park in New York City. Photo via Werner Kunz.

2. Mitigates Pollution and Heat Islands

The heat island effect of urban areas is caused by the abundance of dark asphalt and concrete surfaces on buildings and roads. The integration of parks into cities, along with vegetation, could help mitigate the consequences of a heat island by adding plant shade and evapotranspiration and thus lowering the air temperature.

Trees also have the ability to remove air pollutants, so urban parks could improve the quality of air in cities. Another ecological benefit of increased park acreage in cities is the fact that vegetation absorbs polluted run-off from impervious surfaces. Instead of dirty rainwater polluting urban waterways, it can be soaked up and cleansed by plants and vegetation in urban parks.

3. Provides Economic Development

Incorporating a park into a community would be a wise financial investment because it adds value to surrounding properties, it increases municipal revenues, and it provides recreational benefits. If more parks were created in low-income communities, tax revenues would increase as well as property values, which would benefit the citizens living in these areas. Additionally, parks attract and retain businesses and residents because open green spaces make communities much more livable, as is true in Portland, Oregon (named one of the most livable cities due to its abundant green space).

About The Author

is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon where she earned a Bachelor of Science in environmental studies and a minor in business administration. Growing up discovering the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest gave her a passion for both conservation and sustainability. She hopes to expand her knowledge of climate change by earning a Master’s degree in environmental science and specializing in biogeochemistry. As a foodie, her interests lie in cooking and baking, as well as traveling, camping, and exploring the outdoors.