Experiencing nature helps people in times of joy and pain. However, inequity of access to green spaces means that South Africans cannot enjoy nature when they need to.
South Africa needs to integrate urban green spaces as part of valuable infrastructure and provide framework for their sustainability.
We cannot think of nature as something set aside in wildernesses, far from human activity. We need to conserve some elements of nature everywhere, including in the cities we live in.
Poorly regulated housing is leading to more greenhouse gas emissions through energy loss, increased energy requirements and greater exposure to weather extremes.
Green spaces have the potential to reduce heat and improve health, especially in urban areas.
Well-designed residential developments with abundant tree cover can help protect cities against urban heat and flooding.
People wouldn’t last long without the countless other species we depend on for survival.
Green spaces can be used as non-coercive modes of warfare to further social cohesion and diminish the likelihood of insurgency.
How we design our cities can make it harder to be healthy. City planners are now able to quantify the different elements that are affecting our health and well-being.
The promised £39 million is not enough to ‘level up’ park provision in the UK.
Despite their good intentions, cities rarely have the full set of skills and capabilities to turn their plans into a reality. Our research looks at what needs to change.
As we look beyond a world besieged by Covid-19, the relationship between humans and nature in our cities must be shaped and reclaimed.
A study showed that, on average, more greenery around primary schools was associated with better NAPLAN scores. Higher exposure to traffic-related pollution was associated with poorer scores.
Green spaces can be part of the plan to ‘build back better’ after COVID-19. But city officials and policy-makers must address systemic racism for urban green spaces to benefit public health.
There’s ample evidence that colonial imprints and mindsets in many cities and towns around the world today still dominate the availability of green spaces and how they’re managed.
To protect urban trees, it’s important to reduce the impact from construction. Advance planning and close supervision can help.
The built environment plays a pivotal role in lowering residents’ exposure to climate change driven risks.
Parts of Nairobi are already dealing with temperature increases and reduction in humidity. These conditions are associated with increases in mortality, especially in children and the elderly.
COVID-19 restrictions led to calls to open up golf courses to the public. But these are such precious refuges for native flora and fauna that access will have to be carefully managed.
Nature is a promise of escape, a moment of relief and a relationship worth cherishing.