By Carlie Douglas
No, I’m not talking about Riboflavin (should anyone look up the actual medical definition), I am referring to the new term for people’s need for ‘green’ in their daily lives. And the more interaction, the better. Because of spreading urbanization, the desire for dense urban areas, and some cities and town’s ‘beautification’ strategies, accessible green spaces are becoming a rarity. Studies have shown that daily contact with a natural environment positively effects people’s perceived well-being; it lowers stress levels and restores attention spans. It also encourages physical activity, walking and everyday movements, not necessarily ‘workouts’. Recent research has exposed not lack of access to healthy foods, but lack of physical activity as the greatest factor in obesity rates as categorized by the World Health Organization; BMI ≥ 30. And because obesity rates in the US have risen to about 30% (and nearly 20% in the UK), this need for physical activity is greater than ever.
So, as Urban Designers are shifting focus of neighbourhood layouts to ‘walkable communities’ and implementing cycle networks, perhaps we should begin to integrate green spaces/areas/elements into our designs and use hard surfaces less. Advances in technology such as high load bearing grass pavers make it possible to even have ‘green’ roads, parking surfaces, walls, etc. And in our student lives, if for no other reason but a measure of stress-relief, maybe we can try to insert a bit of Vitamin G!
And for a few stats on the green–> The ‘Vitamin G’ effect