Green Spaces: The Benefits for London

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Hi my name is David Bentley and I work for the City of London Corporation. Standing here I could be miles from the
nearest town but in fact I am on Hampstead Heath
managed by the City of London Corporation. and only five miles from Trafalgar
Square. London is the third greenest major city
in the world with forty percent of its surface covered by public green space. So, what do London’s public parklands,
forests, and gardens do for Londoners. The City of London owns and manages almost eleven thousand acres of public green spaces in and around London and together with BOP consulting we have carried out to literature review of the research that identifies the
benefits that workers, businesses, and visitors enjoy as a result of the green spaces. Many studies show the benefits of green
spaces and improving air quality. Trees help to improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and producing oxygen. Trees also regulate air temperature,
critical in busy and often polluted urban environments. Urban green infrastructure has a key
role in managing the impact of carbon emissions. A problem in all big cities
and links to climate change. Trees capture and filter carbon, thereby
mitigating emissions and there negative effects on people in the environments. Green spaces in trees provide natural
drainage helping to alleviate flood risks and also
act to filter pollutants from soil and from water. Typically built-up areas have
little to offer wildlife but a network of green spaces in the city offers a home to plants and animals
allowing populations to become more diverse and resilient. Poor air quality and an increasingly sentry lifestyle for
urban dwellers are frequently linked with problems of ill health. In particular cardiovascular and
respiratory diseases and obesity in adults and children are linked. By providing space for exercise and improving air quality green spaces helped to counteract such
health problems. Access to green spaces such as parks and woodlands also reduces stress evoking positive emotions and promoting mental well-being. Studies have shown that residents living
in urban areas with approximate to large amounts of green space shows
significantly lower mental distress levels and high levels of happiness and life satisfaction. The London visitor survey provides
strong evidence of the role that green spaces play in attracting visitors from the UK and overseas to London. Data collected from four thousand, five
hundred and eighty seven visitors to London show that eighty percent of overseas tourists, seventy four percent of UK staying
visitors, seventy percent of UK day visitors and seventy seven per cent of London
residents rank parks and gardens as important or
very important in their decision to visit or take a day trip to London. London’s green spaces are accessible,
free and great spots for people to meet. They are for places to walk, places to walk dogs, places to play and hold public events. This contributes to a feeling of
community and supports an increased sense of
belonging to an area. There’s evidence that large green spaces with room to run around, explore and let
of steam can place a significant role in child development. Epping Forest in Hampstead Heath are prime examples of such areas. So, we can see that green spaces
contribute to a better mental health, better physical health, a stronger
society and more sustainable environments and economic value for London. Recognizing those benefits the City of
London will continue to protect enhances open spaces for future generations. We hope that people will continue to participate and enjoy those open spaces in the
future. For more information visit our website and download the reports.

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