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Community Green Space and Health

Due to urbanization, people have become more dependent on living and moving around inside various buildings. Therefore, community green space is an important way for people to connect with nature. Excellent community green spaces have a positive effect on people’s physical and mental health

Therefore, we as urban designers can think about several questions.

  1. What is the relationship between urban design and health and well-being?
  2. When designing community green spaces, what designs can be beneficial to people’s health?
  3. What is the impact of community green spaces on cities?

图 1. (https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/r0kzyz7xt3phM9ZOHp94Yw)

 

  1. Urban design and health

In the process of urban development that prioritizes efficiency, urban populations are generally facing subhealth problems and “big city epidemics” are frequent. The relationship between urban public space and human health and diseases has attracted attention. “Chronic diseases” are diseases indirectly caused by urban space through influencing people’s behaviour, lifestyle, urban environment and social interaction.

The design of a community’s public space determines the function of the space and can directly contribute to differences in the daily exercise, travel, or social life of users. These behavioural factors further have an impact on people’s health levels, and therefore, urban designers should consider public health as an important urban design requirement.

Green Looking Ratio, which refers to the ratio of green in people’s field of vision, was introduced by Yo Aoki in 1987 as a reflection of the three-dimensional effect of urban greening. The increase of the green-looking ratio in the street helps to reduce visual fatigue, and auditory fatigue and promotes the stability of pulse and blood pressure. When the green vision rate of a certain environment is below 15%, people will perceive the artificial traces in it. If plants are used to actively define the top and façade of street space, the space will be very pleasant and comfortable when the green vision rate reaches 20%.

Fig 2. by Zizu Studio (https://www.gooood.cn/meifeng-community-park-zizu-studio.htm)

 

  1. Healthy design

Community green space can bring people available activity sites, change the habits of residents for sports and exercise, and set up large concentrated open spaces, walkable parks and other activity sites in the community to motivate residents to participate in healthy sports or socialization.

图 3. (https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/r0kzyz7xt3phM9ZOHp94Yw)

The physiological impact of community green space on public health mainly originates from plants. Because plants release negative oxygen ions, germicidal substances and oxygen, they can effectively eliminate fatigue and reduce the level of viruses and bacteria in the air, which can prevent respiratory diseases among residents.

In China, in the landscape design of many communities’ green spaces, designers select plants with bactericidal effects such as balsam fir and osmanthus to control the spread of viruses. Plants also have the function of absorbing urban noise and reducing the damage of noise to people’s eardrums. Community green space will be beneficial to people’s bodies.

Community green space is also beneficial to people’s psychology. When people move from indoor to community green spaces, the natural landscape will positively affect people’s psychology through their sense organs. With the natural factor, the human brain can produce emotional feedback more quickly in the subconscious, and this effect can be quantified through rigorous scientific data.

The core of a community green space also includes the matching and combination of plants. Reasonable plant shapes can attract a variety of animals and microorganisms, forming a vibrant natural space.

 

  1. The impact of community green space on the city

Community green space can be the base of nature education in the city, which is the most accessible green space for urban residents. Nature education in community green space is targeted at people of all ages, and its main subjects are all people who lack nature knowledge and ecological awareness. Children are the main target of education because they have not yet formed nature awareness. The purpose of the nature education base is to enable a large part of the population to understand and love nature and to protect the environment.

图 4. (https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/r0kzyz7xt3phM9ZOHp94Yw)

Not only that, but the development of community green spaces should allow some areas to grow fresh fruits and vegetables and set up trading markets to increase the accessibility of fresh and healthy dietary products within walking distance of residents and around work areas where offices are concentrated.

References

  1. Zhou, Xiaofei, Liu, Yang. Research on the design of community green space based on nature education under the perspective of public health[J]. Urban Architecture,2022,19(2):16-18,97.
  2. Xiaohan ding. http://chla.com.cn/htm/2017/0619/260914_2.html

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School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Telephone: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk