The green space is a space within an urban environment dedicated to nature. One of the most familiar forms of green space is an amusement park, such as New York’s famous Central Park, although the space can also take the form of urban wetlands or urban forest cover. Many societies have historically enjoyed parks, and in the second half of the twentieth century, researchers discovered many additional benefits.
In an anthropocentric sense, green spaces offer a place of recreation. Many areas have hiking trails, picnic lawns and other areas suitable for human use. People often enjoy walking in the parks, attending events held in the parks, such as concerts, and experiencing the natural environment. Many cities around the world have famous parks and green spaces, as well as botanical gardens, and some of these spaces have been enjoyed for centuries.
In addition to being fun to watch and fun to play, green spaces also have many other perks. Researchers on urban temperatures and air quality have found that the more green space a city has, the healthier it is. Large expanses of vegetation can act as air purifiers, with plants eliminating air pollution and emitting oxygen as a byproduct, and these types of spaces can also help regulate the temperature in a city, avoiding the drastic fluctuations that they can make life in the city unpleasant.
Green spaces also provide natural habitat for animals, and in some cases thriving wildlife communities have developed in these areas. The space helps preserve the natural environment and the diversity of regional species, from butterflies to birds, and many biologists believe this is beneficial.
Green spaces also help conserve water. Urban forest cover reduces the rate of evaporation, keeping water in the city, and urban wetlands help reduce flooding and manage stormwater runoff. Environmental benefits generally do not conflict with human uses, which greatly facilitates the choice to prioritize them in urban planning.
A growing number of cities have recognized the need for green infrastructure in the form of parks, green belts around new developments, living walls and ceilings and other measures. Many municipal plans include a statement about the willingness to maintain or expand urban green spaces to make life healthier and more enjoyable for residents.