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Importance of park

Every park user knows the benefits of green space, especially in urban and suburban environments, but the benefits of our parks, trails, and green spaces extend far beyond users - daily they touch the lives of every person who lives hikingand works in the community. From improving our physical and psychological health, to strengthening our communities, and making our cities and neighborhoods more attractive places to live and work - the benefits of parks are endless - to individuals, our communities, the economy and the environment.

Broadly defined, parks provide a diverse and quantifiable range of benefits that immeasurably improve our quality of life.

Below is an overview of the tangible benefits provided by parks and public open spaces; together they provide very real reasons for us to invest in such community greenfrastructure in its entirety.

Benefits to Individuals

Parks offer opportunities to enrich the quality of life for persons of all ages and abilities. Strong evidence shows that when people have access to parks, they exercise more. Regular physical activity has been shown to increase health and reduce the risk of a wide range of diseases, including Heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and Diabetes. Physical activity also relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety, improves mood, and enhances psychological well-being. Beyond the benefits of exercise, a growing body of research shows that contact with the natural world improves physical and psychological health. Older adults who participate in a variety of social and recreational opportunities benefit from the social connections and interactions that are fundamental to their well-being.

Benefits to Communities

Parks have long been recognized as key contributors to the aesthetic and physical quality of neighborhoods. Today, we realize that parks are more than recreation and visual assets to communities; they are valuable contributors to larger community policy objectives, such as public health, youth development, job opportunities, social and cultural exchange, and community building.

play areaAt the community level parks play a special role, they have something to offer everyone from young children and teens, to families, adults and the elderly; their presence can also be a cohesive force. They are more than places to recreate and relate to nature; parks can also offer a multitude of opportunities to engage in arts and music. A park can be a community focal point, a symbol of its vitality and character, adding to its overall health, well-being and quality of life.

Benefits to the Economy

park benchAcross the country communities are learning that conserving community greenfrastructure - lands for parks, trails and other public open spaces - is not an expense, but an investment that produces important economic benefits.

Research verifies what we intuitively know about the value of parks and related open spaces: they reduce energy use and storm water runoff, increase the value of neighboring property, and improve academic performance among teens. Studies have also shown that crime is lower in the neighborhoods where parks exist and visits to hospitals and emergency rooms are reduced when kids are given a safe alternative to playing in streets and parking lots. The availability of recreation opportunities and park amenities is an important quality-of-life factor for businesses choosing where to locate and for individuals choosing a place to live.

trail seatBenefits to the Environment

Community greenfrastructure - parks, community gardens, greenways and other types of public open spaces also benefit the environment. Whether greenfrastructure lands are in ball fields, trails, trees or public open space, they are on the job 24 hours every day serving critical environmental functions that contribute to many of life's essentials - making water clean and safe for drinking, cleaning the air and returning oxygen to the atmosphere, and providing habitat for wildlife, biodiversity and ecological integrity. In fact, conserving land for people where they live, work and play is often the most cost efficient and effective way to achieving a host of environmental health and related public policy objectives.

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Q: Need and importance of parks in towns?
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