6 Reasons We Must Include Urban Parks in City Planning

Research into the benefits of urban green space is unequivocal: urban parks are hugely important to the quality of life of city dwellers. Sustainable urban parks provide incredible environmental benefits, such as noise filtering and air purification. They also provide incredible physical and mental health benefits. They are crucial to the health and wellbeing of urban communities, encouraging the use of the outdoors and enabling greater social interaction and integration.

Places for recreation, relaxation, exercise, and work, research shows that well-designed urban parks improve property values as well as morale. And higher property values mean higher property taxes. More money flowing onto municipal funds mean more money for urban renewal.

Why do residents need urban parks?

What benefits do people get when they visit an urban park, and how does this affect their quality of life?

What is the role of urban parks in a sustainable city?

Here are six reasons we must include urban parks in our urban regeneration plans.

  1. Sustainable parks and recreation: Reducing healthcare costs

Where urban parks exist, people exercise more. Research has found that parks with walking loops have 80% more users than parks without, and a 90% higher level of physical activity. A 2005 study found that moderate exercise contributed between $1,177 and $1,456 lower healthcare costs for U.S. retired manufacturing workers when compared to sedentary retirees.

  1. Urban parks improve local economies

Urban parks can massively boost local economies. They attract visitors and businesses and create jobs and local tax revenues. A study by the National Recreation and Park Association found that the impact of urban parks and local recreation agencies in 2017 was the generation of an astounding $166 billion to the U.S. economy while supporting more than a million jobs.

  1. Urban parks improve city sustainability

Urban parks improve stormwater drainage and air quality, reduce noise pollution, and increase natural wildlife and foliage. When well-designed and maintained, urban parks release the benefits of these environmental advantages to surrounding areas, improving the sustainability of our cities.

  1. Urban parks reduce crime

When urban parks are designed for neighborhoods with engagement in their design by residents, they help to foster greater community. In turn, this engagement has been shown to help to reduce crime.

  1. Urban parks improve the air we breath

When we think of urban parks, we also think of trees, right? According to research by the NRPA, the value of trees in urban parks adds up as follows:

  • Air pollution removal of $500 million per year

  • Carbon storage of $1.6 billion a year

  • Structural value of $300 billion

  • Air temperature reduction is unknown but likely to be in the $ billion each year

  1. Urban parks help cities to be more equitable

Parks are necessary for any city and can be used to create more equitable environments. Integrating these parks into urban planning policy allows public officials to promote equity.

With the help of community feedback and an equitable spending plan, park leaders can drive urban planning to maximize the benefits of urban parks where those benefits will have the greatest positive impact on the most neglected communities.

Conclusion: It’s crucial to plan parks for our cities

Too often, city planners become focused on the short-term cost of including urban parks in infrastructure plans. We must break this mindset.

It’s crucial that we plan parks for our cities. They not only provide a place for people to relax and enjoy themselves, but they also offer opportunities for physical activity and socializing. Parks can be used as a tool for environmental education, can improve local economies, and are essential to the long-term sustainability of our cities. 

At ACB Consulting, we are committed to helping improve the communities in which we live, work, and play – including how they are conceived, designed and created. To learn more or to join the conversation, contact ACB Consulting.

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