Deborah Marton speaks about the importance of green public spaces for public health in our cities.

 

“Human beings are part of nature and we need that access to nature. People often think about nature as something far away but it can actually be woven through the fabric of a city and be part of people’s everyday lives.

The benefits are multiple. There’s the obvious joy of seeing and connecting with living things but there’s also economic benefits – it’s known that property values increase with easy access to quality green space. And of course there’s the green infrastructure benefit; green spaces can be designed to increase biodiversity, to absorb stormwater and to reduce heat.

Perhaps the most profound benefit is around health. Almost every day new studies are released that say access to nature can improve virtually every kind of health indicator that you care to measure. Rates of asthma, obesity and diabetes are all increased without access to places where you can exercise and be in nature. Trees filter air quality and they pull pollutants out of soil.

The absence of nature is a long term problem that our culture thinks we need to cure with medicine. Typically we look to fix something once it’s broken, because that’s where money can be made, but if we invest up front to keep people from being physically and mentally broken, nature is part of that investment. I think in 200 years from now we’ll ask why we didn’t understand those values.” – Deborah Marton

 

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Breathing space: Deborah Marton, Architecture Now

 

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