Clare Wansbury – Ecoloigist – at Atkins Global
Scientific studies have shown that a daily dose of nature is more than ‘nice to have’. It has a direct and measurable impact on both physical and mental health. This in turn translates into economic benefits to society. For example, the health benefits of living overlooking greenspace are estimates at around £300 per capita per year. It is in the densest of urban areas that accessible natural greenspace can provide most added value.
So where does this take us in the battle of ideas between garden cities and densification? In the UK we have the skills, knowledge and opportunities to apply both approaches. There is room for, and a need for, both approaches, but they must learn from each other. Garden cities can accommodate elements of higher density living. Vital cities will only work if there is greater recognition of the factors that allow healthy humans to flourish. ‘Vital’ cities must provide what is ‘vital’ to people, and that includes interaction with the natural world.