Connection with Nature

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Author: Kaitlin Rudnick

An important theme to have within a good city is a connection with nature. When I think of all of my favorite cities, they are connected with nature in some sort of way. Within East Lansing, I love the walk paths that surround the Red Cedar River. That is a perfect example of what cities need to be good cities and to have that strong connection with nature. I never thought of myself as someone who likes nature but there is nothing better than being able to sit outside and smell the fresh air. Whether it is sitting at a park or on a rooftop, a totally different atmosphere encompasses you. I believe that many others have this same opinion and any good city should have some sort of connection to ecology.

That connection may be more parks built throughout the cities with walk paths and bike paths. Not only do you make the community healthier by getting more exercise, and creating less pollution for the environment, the citizens will feel better. There are several studies done that show your emotional and physical well being with being able to be outside and out into the environment. A study from the Saint Louis University School of Medicine states, ‘There are seven mental health benefits if being outside. The health benefits of the outdoors are an increase in Vitamin D, more creativity, mood elevation with natural light, better concentration, increased alertness, less anxiety, and better sleep.”

Hopefully more community members would meet each other if they were outside more often and you would have the community grow as a whole. In a good city, there are benches and picnic tables and areas to congregate while being outside. It seems silly that a bench would make a huge difference within a connection to nature but how else would you sit outside without having a place to sit? Of course you can sit on the ground but many choose not to do that. With an accessible area with park benches, those who attend can meet up with friends and talk. Or they can use that time to have some peace and quiet and focus on the beautiful environment.

In a good city, you do not see a lot of abandoned buildings and scarce looking areas. If you are looking at a good city you see a connection with nature, which can also mean to include natural habitats. If you grow more trees and grow more flowers, the natural habitat will become prevalent in an area, and many like to see the beautiful creatures that inhabit those areas. Not only does this area become beautiful but also you can see butterflies, bees, ladybugs, birds, and many other creatures that would come to an area if their habitat were available.

A connection with nature is important when building or planning a good city. The benefits of having this connection outweigh any negative benefits, if there even is any. Good cities that have excess plants throughout the walkways and street are way more beautiful than those who do not. Those cities that have more community hangout areas are way more likely to see members of the community outside and hanging out. I believe that a connection with nature is the most important aspect that a good city can have.

An example of this principle at work: Project for Public Spaces