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11 Unbeatable Reasons To Promote More Open Spaces Near Residences

Green city park in lujiazui financial centre, Shanghai, China

A feasibility study by City of San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Services found that those who exercise regularly in the open have 14% lower claims against their medical insurance and 30% fewer days in the hospital, making a case for developing more open spaces in the city. Ironically, as cities develop, this is the one thing that disappears.

India, with the dual complication of population and rapid urbanization, is woefully short of large open spaces within its cities.  Even a relatively young city such as Gurgaon, which until not too long ago was characterized by vast greens and swaying bright yellow mustard fields bordered by the craggy Aravalli hills, is increasingly proud of its tarmacked and concretized surfaces as symbols of progress.

Unfortunately, the drawbacks of this starts showing on its citizens – rising health issues and lifestyle diseases, not just in adults, but alarmingly in youngsters too. Long gone are the days when kids could just step out of the home to play in the streets. Even the pavements, if any, offer no space for a leisurely walk for adults, or god forbid, the elderly.

Fortunately in Gurgaon, some builders have begun balancing the deficit by reserving more than half their lands for development for open spaces – such as Sobha City Urban Park. A good living environment needs to comprise more than luxurious apartment interiors and facilities. Conducive and salubrious spaces outside and around the living area is just as important. Let’s see why:

1. Being out in nature can reduce stress in just 3 to 5 minutes

2. It’s a well-known fact that walking produces endorphins that has numerous benefits on the mind. But did you know that walking barefoot on green grass has as many benefits on the body including improving eyesight (through pressure points on the foot,) and strengthening and stretching muscles, tendons and ligaments in feet, ankles and calves, thereby  preventing  knee strain and back problems?

3. Communing with nature has shown blood pressure to drop by 5 to 10 mm/Hg and daily walks in a park reduces risk of heart attack by up to 50%

4. Toddlers develop better motor skills while running and tumbling around in the open. Trees can be natural jungle gyms for older kids

5. Closed spaces increase aggression in children; open space activities has been proven to reduce bullying and increase learning capacity

6. ADHD – the new bane in children can be significantly reduced through open space activities. It’s a no brainer that children in crowded metros suffer more from such medical issues

7. Blame global warming, but cities across the world are getting hotter by a degree or two every 5 years; adequate tree shelter can reduce land heating by up to 25%

8. Paradoxically, there is a trend of flooding during monsoons; that’s because of inadequate wetlands – green spaces can soak up 3.5 times more to reduce the risk of flooding

9. Ironically, for a developing nation, the number of cars on the road are increasing exponentially; 1 hectare of trees and shrubs can absorb 1 tonne of CO2 – equivalent to 100 family cars

10. A single tree can produce enough oxygen for 10 people – companies thinking of bottling oxygen like in Japan may need to rethink their business strategies

11. Health is wealth in more ways than one – green space can increase property values by 6% to 35%!!!

A dozen or more benefits can be listed down to promote open spaces. Here’s to more urban park residences.

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