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14th May 2020

The Importance of Creating Green Communities

As we plan for the future, green spaces need to become a priority, coinciding with a greater focus on encouraging good mental health and well-being.  Access to nature is set to become higher up on the list of planning and local authority requirements, with this current pandemic highlighting the signification of biophilia: the innate need for humans to connect with what’s alive and vital.

Sustainability is a word that’s gained a lot of traction in recent years and it affects every aspect of our lives, including how we eat, shop, live and travel. Equally, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding sustainable communities - what they are, how they work and why they’re important. Also known as a ‘green’ or eco-friendly community, this way of living has a wealth of important benefits, for both the members of that community and the wider planet as a whole.

 A green community is one that implements environmentally friendly practices to meet the needs of its members. The ethos behind a green community also ties heavily into sustainable development, defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development 1987 as:

Climate change is naturally one of the main motivations behind the implementation of green communities and sustainable communities offer a way of living that places people’s long term needs at the centre. This is vital for the general health of the population and planet, and green communities place an emphasis on key factors such as:

  • Good quality air and water, healthy food and good housing.
  • Good quality education, a vibrant culture, good health care, satisfying employment or occupations and a sharing of wealth.
  • Safety in public places, equal opportunities, freedom of expression and catering for the needs of the young, the old and the disabled.

You can read more about the theory, policy and practice of building a sustainable community in this Infed article here.

Sustainable communities also rely on biodegradable and recyclable materials for buildings, parks and insulation, which reduces their carbon footprint and lowers energy consumption.

As you might expect, green spaces are a vital part of building a green community and an increased number of community gardens, trees and parks ensures that residents benefit from lower CO2 emissions, reduced stress levels, increased fitness and overall improved mental health.