We all like to spend time in parks, but are they just the perk of a great neighborhood? Is it more important for people to be able to interact with nature in public spaces such as parks? City parks and open space benefit our physical and mental health, strengthen our communities, and make our cities and neighborhoods more appealing places to live and work. But are these the only reasons why parks are important?
Ho Chi Minh City’s plan for 2022 was to establish 10 additional hectares of public parks and two hectares of green space, as well as to plant and rehabilitate 6,000 trees as part of a 10-year plan ending in 2030. The final goal was to add at least 150 hectares of public parks and 10 hectares of public green spaces and to increase the average area of public parkland and green space per resident to 3–4 square meters by 2030.
Reasons Why Parks Are Important
Storm Water Collection
Water is absorbed by unpaved ground. Trees and grass are far more efficient—and less expensive—than concrete sewers and drainage ditches at managing storm water. With extreme weather patterns on the rise, more green space can help solve a lot of problems.
Urban Heat Island Effect Reduction
The urban heat island effect is caused by the abundance of flat, dark surfaces made of asphalt and concrete in cities. This causes urban areas to be noticeably warmer than other nearby areas and is a major contributor to smog formation.
Fortunately, even a minor increase in the number of trees can mitigate this effect. It can be virtually eliminated from cities by increasing park space and installing green roofs. Planting trees and vegetation strategically—that is, letting the branches hang over the sidewalk—can reduce summer temperatures by 1-5oC.
Parks allow residents in the neighborhood to interact with one another and meet new people. They’re also excellent locations for events and recreational activities. This allows people to form bonds with one another.
Trees remove a wide variety of pollutants from the air. Trees remove gaseous air pollution primarily by uptake via leaf stomata, though some gases are removed by the plant surface.
An Improvement in Mental Health
It seems obvious that a place where people can make connections, meet new friends, and participate in recreational activities is also beneficial to the mental health of the locals.
However, direct exposure to nature has its own mental health benefits, such as stress reduction and increased happiness.
A Physical Activity Center
You’ve probably heard about the numerous health issues caused by a lack of physical activity. Obesity is directly linked to the sedentary lifestyle that many Vietnamese lead today, which can lead to a variety of health issues such as certain types of cancer and heart disease.
A Playground for Children
Being outside and playing in nature is essential for children’s healthy development. Children who spend a significant amount of time outside have better emotional stability and mental health.