5 Steps Any City Hall Could Take To Improve Local Parks
In terms of strategies that are able to improve the health and contentment of the citizens, setting up natural parks complete with quality amenities constitutes one of the most viable solutions. Public parks add to the popularity of cities – large and small – and, in addition to keeping the local population happy, they also fulfil a number of other roles like:
• Promote a state of tranquillity and decrease psychological fatigue
Natural surroundings featuring abundant plant life have been proven to instil a state of calm and comfort that no other environment can match. Parks are particularly effective in this sense for residential neighbourhoods and as oases in the urban concrete jungle.
• Decrease the number of violent crimes in a community
Popular belief dictates that parks could easily become thriving locations for criminal activities, but studies conducted by the University of Illinois indicate the opposite. In fact, in urban communities featuring a larger green surface the violent crime rate is up to 50% lower than the ones where parks are scarce.
• Encourage cohesion between members of the community
The explanation for this effect is relatively simple: a well maintained and fully equipped park facilitates social gatherings and promotes human interactions. As a result, the community becomes considerably more cohesive and that leads to a safe, healthy neighbourhood.
Not all parks are create equal
Naturally, one cannot expect to harness the full potential natural public parks have to offer simply slapping a couple of trees and grass onto a random section of the neighbourhood. In the absence of amenities, carefully planned walkways and layouts, optimal maintenance and designated areas for certain activities, the green space won’t provide any of these benefits. Furthermore, they will soon become deserted and brimming with wild animals and criminal elements. Let’s find out how to avoid this outcome in five simple steps.
1. Setting up a maintenance program
The ‘Broken Windows’ hypothesis developed by George Kelling and James Q. Wilson back in the 80s is still applicable today. The core of this theory is that disorder and uncivil behaviour easily translate into criminal activity. Therefore, to thwart criminal activity, the best method implies maintaining and promoting order.
For parks and green areas, this means hiring a specialized service provider to trim the trees and hedges, prune the bushes and cut the grass on a regular basis. Certain park maintenance services also provide trash collecting services and landscaping. When the members of the community notice the efforts of city hall to preserve the beauty and functionality of the park, the snowballing petty crime effects are stopped before they escalate into serious criminal behaviour. Furthermore, they will be a lot more eager to do their part for the environment and refrain from littering or vandalizing the premises.
2. Installing amenities for social gatherings
Establishing covered structures like gazebos, barbecue pits and playgrounds is an excellent way to offer the community a place to assemble for family gatherings, picnics or school trips. The shelters ensure they have a place to hide when an unpredicted meteorological occurrence threatens to ruin with their plans. At the same time, setting aside a section of the park for athletic activities is great when you plan on hosting city-wide celebrations and events, because it eliminates the need to block the streets with parades that cause traffic congestion on the main arteries.
3. Dedicating a section of the park for dog owners
Ideally, city hall should consider a park that’s exclusively created for dog owners and where they can take their four legged friends for running and exercising. However, when the space and budget are prohibitive, another solution consists of dedicating a fence-surrounded part of your existing park for this type of activity. This way you’ll minimize the risks of the dogs running off and/or potential accidents, while giving owners peace of mind and appreciation.
4. Implementing various exercising equipment
The hectic schedules proprietary to the modern work environment, the temptation of unhealthy fast-food and distractions like television or video games have lead to a massive increase in the rates of obesity. Since most people lack time and possibly the finance to enrol in a gym program, why not provide them a free alternative by installing exercising equipment in your park? There is no need to invest in expensive gym equipment, as all you need are:
• Pull up bars
• Jungle gym
• Jogging trails
• Biking lanes
Remember to have these amenities regularly inspected for damage and the trails repainted when the markings are no longer fully visible.
5. Promoting environmentally sound practices and raise awareness
In addition to hiring a specialized service to ensure park maintenance, another method of keeping the park clean and attractive comprises of educating the members of the community on responsible and green practices. Label the plant life available here and offer a short description, install separate recycling bins, and put up signs that promote the importance of treating our parks with the respect they deserve.