In Ling’s blog, the author mentioned about the issue of the health in the urban design. Ling (2018) highlights the green space is benefit for people’s health. Urban centres are also designed to have green spaces such as amusement parks which can enable the wellbeing of individuals. First, the provision of green spaces improves the mental health of individuals that they reduce psycho-physiological stress. The attention restoration theory (ART) also proposes that green spaces are important in improving the mental health. It is therefore important for the designs of cities to include green spaces in order to benefit the wellbeing of individuals. Gardens and parks have been found to have restorative effects on the physical and mental health of individuals.
The presence of green spaces also encourages physical activity which benefits the less mobile individuals in the society. Steingraber (2002) reported a positive correlation between the access of green spaces and pleasant walking. Since people are not in contact with high levels of pollution in the roads and other settings, a physical exercise which is performed in green spaces has greater benefits than physical exercise within the busy city streets.
Moreover, designs which incorporate green spaces lead to social cohesion. The lack of greenspaces leads to loneliness. The greenspaces, on the other hand, encourage interactions between people by providing an enabling setting. De Vries et al. (2013) also found a connection between the green streets and the perceptions of social cohesion. Social cohesion and interactions can enable individuals to have better mental health as these interactions may reduce the levels of stress that the individuals are undergoing. The presence of green trees around residential areas has also been found to reduce cases of domestic violence in the society.
Furthermore, green spaces are important in reducing air pollution as well as captures carbon from the environment thus purifying the environment. Kellert et al. (2008) noted that green spaces are essential in noise buffering where there are high levels of traffic which again contributes to the health of the individuals. The green spaces also provide cooling hence reducing urban heat.
Figure: Sovereign Square (Leeds Government, 2013).
The city of Leeds allowed a creation of Sovereign Square green space which includes a tree-lined boulevard, outdoor seating, rain garden, water feature, and grassed area. The green space was designed in order to regenerate the area and to attract families, office workers and visitors to the park for recreation and socialisation. The Sovereign Square green space is made up of paved areas, shrubs, mature trees and natural stone walls which gives an avenue for the visitors to interact with nature. The project can also host outdoor events (Leeds Government, 2013).
De Vries, et al., (2013) ‘Streetscape greenery and health: Stress, social cohesion and physical activity’, Social Science and Medicine, 94 26-33
Ling, L. (2018) ‘An Exploration of Urban Design Health, Well-being, Flourishing’ [Online] Available at: http://2017-2018.nclurbandesign.org/2018/01/explaration-urban-design-health-well-flourishing/ [Accessed 14 January 2018].
Steingraber, S. (2002). Exquisite communion: the body, landscape, and toxic exposures. In: Johnson, B.R., Hill, K. (Eds.), Ecology and Design: Frameworks for Learning. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp. 192–202.
Leeds Government (2013). Senior councillors set to give final approval for new city centre green space. [Online] Available at: http://www.leeds.gov.uk/news/pages/Senior-councillors-set-to-give-final-approval-for-new-city-centre-green-space.aspx [Accessed 13 January 2018].
Kellert, S.R., Heerwagen, J.H., and Mador, M. (2008). Biophilic design: Theory, science, and practice. New York: Wiley.