April 15, 2019 1:39 am
As the world’s population continues to grow, the need for living spaces continues to rise as well.
According to satellite data from 1985 to 2013 provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) an increasing percentage of the global populace is taking up residence in cities. Alongside this surge in urban population numbers comes a rise in various lifestyle-related illnesses, both mental and physical.
Fortunately, a solution exists in the form of green spaces. Defined in the urban context as maintained environmental areas incorporated into living spaces, purposefully designed with recreational or aesthetic merits in mind.
Even before the 20th century, green spaces had already been established and made open to the public in different parts of the world. And in the Philippines, living in green spaces is a viable solution for maintaining good physical and mental health, as backed by science.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of living in green spaces is that fact that they also function as venues for physical activities. Whether you’re into running, meditation, sports, or even martial arts, well-maintained environmental areas in urban locations serve as great places for you to breathe, stretch your muscles, and perform your fitness regimen of choice. For the average Filipino who only has time to go to the gym or appreciate nature on weekends, green spaces in close proximity to their areas of residence are the perfect places for staying fit on a daily basis.
Often downplayed as a condition that will “just pass,” stress can lead to major long-term complications in your body, and not just the emotional kind. Individuals suffering from extended periods of stress tend to have compromised immune systems, which in turn leads to them developing a wide variety of otherwise preventable diseases.
Studies have shown, however, that being able to see and experience nature — specifically flowers, trees, and other forms of plant life — can have a particularly strong impact on stress reduction, and the effect is almost instantaneous.
Being in green spaces can also greatly improve a person’s emotional disposition.
Research has shown that meditative walking had more positive psychological effects than athletic walking, particularly in forest settings. Meanwhile, other studies reveal that a person’s mind becomes more at peace in green space rather than when inside a busy commercial establishment.
Ever wonder why you just seem to work better when you’re sitting by a window where you can appreciate the world outside you?
The Attention Restoration Theory suggests that nature plays an instrumental role both in improving productivity and maintaining good mental health. A lush, environmental setting provides a welcome respite from the often mentally taxing activities we perform in the academe or at the office.
As for actually being in green spaces, this has been linked to increased social cohesion, a higher level of physical activity level, and better cognitive development in children.
A study from Denmark’s Aarhus University revealed that children who were raised in close proximity to green spaces were 55% less likely to develop mental illnesses as they grew older. In fact, the researchers believe that their findings are powerful enough to warrant the design of more “green and healthy” cities in the future.
The new joint investment venture of Eton Properties Philippines Inc. (EPPI) and Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), Parklinks, aims to convert the largest estate in the C5 corridor into a residential and business hub that embraces green living with open spaces. While it will have commercial establishments and offices, it will also have an abundance of open spaces, including parks and gardens where families, friends, or even just the tired city warrior can sit down, relax, and bask in the beauty of nature.