The calming effects of green space.

October 6, 2014 | by Brooke Willmes

Gardens, urban parks and green space are becoming fixtures in major cities across the world. They are a major priority when developers present any design ideas to the public. How much green space will be available? How will the green space be incorporated to existing landscape? We find a certain comfort and peaceful feeling when we sit in parks and garden with beautiful views of the the landscape or cities we live in. Now, a doctoral candidate in landscape architecture and urban ecology at the University of Porto in Portugal wants to study the effects that gardens, urban parks, and green space have on visitors to help improve well-being in our cities. We know that living in cities can be stressful and hectic places and by studying the calming effects that parks and green space have on people, urban design planners can find the golden compromise between too much design and too little. One way to think about it is that just as hospitals need healing spaces, cities need a serene oasis to counteract all the urban chaos that can go on in cities. It can be very hard to interpret what type of urban design or architecture can help people reach a level of relaxation or contemplative state because people are ultimately different and respond to things completely different. There are parts of San Francisco and Washington D.C that naturally invite contemplative states because of how urban parks, green space, and buildings tend to frame nature and offer simplicity without being simplistic. This is something Philadelphia should really look into because in the next few years, Philly plans on remodeling JFK Plaza (Love Park) and opening several other piers along the Delaware river. Love Park is a major iconic park in the heart of Center City which offers little green space and it does not feel very inviting. Philadelphia needs to find a way to re-design the park to feel more inviting and relaxing. The same can be said about the new upcoming piers, Race Street Pier should be the example because the pier is a wonderful example of creating a simplistic inviting park with green space and beautiful views that can create a peaceful feeling.


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