A drain carries water but does little else, but imagine how different the neighbourhood would be if the drain could be transformed into a living stream.
Drains take up precious but inaccessible open space in our cities. Converting these to living streams running through the suburbs could make for healthier places in multiple ways.
Generic plotting of ‘green space’ on an urban plan does not target mental wellbeing unless it is designed to engage us with the sights, sounds and smells of nature.
Successful parks and urban green spaces encourage us to linger, to rest, to walk for longer. That, in turn, provides the time to maximise the restorative mental benefits.
Green space, easily accessible to everyone no matter what their income, should be a priority in designing high-density residential areas.
Marcus Jaaske from www.shutterstock.com
Being crowded into poor-quality high-density units harms residents' health, but design features that are known to promote wellbeing can make a big difference to the lives of low-income households.
The traditional backyard provides a retreat from the pressures of city life.
Australians are losing the backyards that once served as retreats from the stresses of city living. Our health is likely to suffer as cities become less green and much hotter.
The Airds Bradbury residential development has open spaces but these lack the amenities of public parks.
New research shows many good intentions for creating urban environments that promote good health were not carried through. The solutions start with engaging more closely with residents themselves.
Providing green space can deliver health, social and environmental benefits for all urban residents – few other public health interventions can achieve all of this.
Urban green spaces are most effective at delivering their full range of health, social and environmental benefits when physical improvement of the space is coupled with social engagement.
St Canice’s rooftop garden, where a horticultural therapy program demonstrated its benefits for mental health and wellbeing.
In a world of increasing urbanisation, density, pressure and, some say, isolation, there's a natural salve for stress, pressure and mental illness. And it’s right above our heads.
Whether it’s pressures of space or a warmer climate, which is affecting Melbourne’s elms, urban greening must respond to the challenges of 21st-century urban living.
Greening cities that are becoming denser is a major challenge. City-dwellers' health benefits from both well-designed green spaces and urban density, so we must manage the tensions between them.
Diverse bushland and wetlands in urban areas contribute to the health and wellbeing of all residents.
Urban bushland has health benefits beyond being a great place to go for a walk. Planners need to consider these when making decisions about the future of our cities.
Simple features, like a thoughtfully sited bench, can make a big difference to older people’s ability to enjoy public spaces in the city.
alexkich from www.shutterstock.com
Several key aspects of public open space can encourage older people to get out and about. And badly designed and maintained facilities have the opposite effect and can harm their wellbeing.
Native plants don’t need much space really.
Simon Pawley/Sustainable Outdoors
It is possible to use small spaces such as transport corridors, verges and the edges of sporting grounds for native wildlife habitat restoration, helping to bring biodiversity back into cities.
Upper Coomera is one of those fast-growing fringe suburbs that are hotter because of tightly packed housing with less greenery.
Recently published research has found that the concentration of poorer people in hotter places is a real problem for cities' capacity to cope with climate change.
Greening Manhattan: bringing nature into the city is one thing, making it part of our culture and everyday lives is another.
The rise of urban greening is an opportunity to recast the relationship between people and environment. Humans and non-human species are ecologically intertwined as inhabitants of cities.
A public space the public isn’t allowed to enjoy.
Development design needs to focus more on natural resources for the benefit of human health.
Planting trees can make cities more desirable and safer places to live in.
Not only do healthy, well-maintained trees provide shade and benefit the ecosystem, they can have a meaningful social impact: people in newly greened neighbourhoods start to look out for each other.
Men and women living in areas of highest socioeconomic disadvantage have a 29% higher risk of being obese.
The government's focus on treating chronic disease neglects the importance of obesity and the benefits of preventive health measures tailored to gender and socioeconomic circumstances.
People enjoy the green space of parks, but often their activities are of a fairly passive nature.
Parks are found in most neighbourhoods, generally free to use and are enjoyed by diverse groups. Although most visitors don't use parks for physical activity, modest improvements can change that.
A park, in this case Hyde Park in Sydney, is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to engage with nature in the city.
Nature is dispersed through our cities, even if we don’t notice it. And there's abundant evidence that engaging with nature, even in urban settings, is good for us.
The hidden costs of affordable housing in the outer suburbs include poorer access to services and long hours of commuting.
Australian cities should be made to work for all inhabitants. This involves evenly spreading the disadvantages of industrial and commercial activities as well as the advantages of good access to services.
It looks great – but what about the wildlife?
Tree image from www.shutterstock.com.
Cities are aiming to increase their tree cover. But there will need to be more than trees to encourage wildlife to return.