There are many studies linking the benefit of access to green spaces and mental and physical wellbeing, particularly for urban dwellers.
The current lockdown and our collective response to the use of parks and open spaces has highlighted the absolute need and demand for access to the great outdoors. For those of us with gardens, living in a high-rise with no immediate availability to a garden would be a living hell.
Green space not only has a positive impact on our health but also has a definite economic value. A house with a well kept and designed garden, increases the saleable value of the house by 10% to 20%. Kerb appeal is a very real and important factor in the eventual sale.
I like to think that a well-designed front garden has a ‘Jones’ effect of influencing our neighbours to do the same, or at least give over more of the space to planting.
But community green space also increase the economic value of local houses and businesses. See :
The environmental impact of green space is also significant. The London parks are considered the green lungs of the great metropolis. Street trees and parks offset carbon, clean the air and provide habitat to insects and wildlife. This too has economic value.
In these troubled times we may now begin to recognise and appreciate the people and work force behind the maintenance of our parks and outdoor spaces. From council teams and contract landscape maintenance teams to the nurseries and wholesalers that supply plants. This under appreciated and generally poorly remunerated group are facing the same pressures as all of us.
Parks in many areas have already been closed. Many would question what is the harm in sunbathing for a few hours in the local park, particularly if we’re observing the 2m distancing rule? There is still much to learn about this virus. If we go outside our houses or flats the chances of accidental contact with the virus on surfaces, or inhalation of the virus when forced together at entrances and other pinch points, increases. However if these parks are all closed, then pressure on other available space such as canal paths increases. The result is the opposite of the desired effect.
Parks and green spaces will help us stay positive and maintain our mental and physical health to get through this time.
We have to find a balance and behaviour that allows those of us with no individual ownership of green space to continue to sensibly use the parks.