Ever wonder about why you feel more comfortable in some places then in others? Why some neighborhoods feel more friendly or safe then others? Why politicians always have pictures of flags, babies, and seniors on their brochures? Your favorite date place has soft lights, maybe candles and friendly service? Offices have cubicles or some churches smell of incenses, or even why policemen wear uniforms. Its all about creating an environment, establishing a sense of order, who the players are and what their role is.
Cities create environments by providing services that connect communities, bus lines, bike lanes or walking trails. Park systems with easy access and spaces to exercise, benches to sit on, recreational areas for kids, landscaping and sculpture to visually inspire young and old. When done right Parks can be a hub in urban communities to bring people together, to socialize, picnic, or just hang out in the sun. Nearby businesses can benefit if they are able to provide food or beverage service to park goers. Local schools can take advantage of these spaces to do discovery projects, open air classrooms with students or simply reward them for good behavior.
Cities that use Parks as a hub to spur economic growth, engage community, provide healthy lifestyles for its residents and offer entertainment also help stabilize housing markets and create environments that attract new families to the neighborhood. Parks are a great investment for cities, communities and for homebuyers. Studies show that real estate valves around neighborhood parks are 20% higher and that valve can extend up to 1,000 feet from the park. Simply adding a tree to your own property can increase its valve by as much as $5,000. So Parks do matter and if viewed as a potential investment for the city, for the community and for its residents every penny invested pays for itself in short order.
Parks are great places for cities to try new things. Develop pilot programs for health and wellness, test energy efficient solar lighting for park safety, advance storm water runoff management, eco cuts to save government dollars on gasoline and maintenance. Trees in our parks and along street right aways also help filter pollution and replenish our oxygen supply.*”A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs./year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings.”
The point of all of this is that Parks are not only a great natural resource but they also offer the opportunity for government, business, institutions and communities to work together, to invest together to create environments that can benefit all elements of our community – not just today or next year but for the future and for everyone.
*McAliney, Mike. Arguments for Land Conservation: Documentation and Information Sources for Land Resources Protection, Trust for Public Land, Sacramento, CA, December, 1993