Implementing green space has never been more crucial to America’s urban settings. In a time of rapid climate change, over-consumption, and increased risks to community health, green spaces have become essential to filtering pollutants and dust from city air, while providing shade to help lower temperatures. The world’s most liveable cities, such as New York and London, are known for their open space, thanks to key considerations for health in these large metropolises.
According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is a major public health risk. Here in the United States, an evaluation of the largest 85 cities in the country found that health savings from parks was an estimated $3.08 billion!
In honour of the great work executed by organizations and societies focused on urban green space and education, we wanted to highlight six we felt deserved recognition for their hard work in making America green again!
In 2012 alone, the beautiful Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Society saw more than 900,000 visitors from over 70 countries. Their horticultural research contributes to knowledge attained both regionally and nationally, while its beauty has earned it global attention as one of the Best Botanical Gardens in America, listed by Travel Channel, and one of the top three arboretums in the nation by Southwest Spirit Magazine. From annual events to educational programming, the arboretum and botanical society has something to offer all ages, inspiring environmental stewardship nationwide.
Home to one of the world’s finest collections of desert plants, Desert Botanical Garden is a one-of-a-kind museum with over 50 acres of outdoor exhibits. The garden has been inspiring over 300,000 visitors per year since 1939, with a commitment to advancing education, research, and conservation of desert plants. As if they didn’t have enough on their plates, the organization also works in partnership with Roosevelt Elementary School District and Cultivate South Phoenix through Spaces of Opportunity promoting healthy living. Together they have revitalized an 18-acre desert plot into a community farm and garden in south Phoenix, providing families access to affordable healthy foods.
LAND studio harnessed the four tools needed to build a healthy city: landscapes, art, neighbourhoods and development. Born from the merging of Cleveland Public Art and ParkWorks, LAND studio’s vision is to identify, create and implement public space for Cleveland. For over 30 years, LAND studio has been working with visible public spaces and disadvantaged communities, enriching people through programming, collaborative planning and sustainable design and development that unites and inspires.
Located in the heart of Houston, Discovery Green Conservatory is the ultimate green space and source of health for citizens. With a goal of creating positive social, health, cultural and economic impact on Houstonians and visitors, the conservatory provides continuous programming while maintaining sustainable design and operations. From community flea markets to skates in the park, the LEED certified conservatory stands as a leader for water and energy efficiency, site sustainability through materials and resources used in construction, it’s indoor environmental quality and overall innovation in the design process. Powered by Green Mountain Energy®, the conservancy uses 100% clean, renewable wind sources to power the park, offsetting its CO2 emissions.
Since 1975, Project for Public Space has been building strong communities through creating sustainable public spaces. The organization is now an internationally renowned centre for its resources and information on placemaking. Run completely on community support and contributions, it’s no wonder Project for Public Spaces has worked with more than 2,000 communities in 26 countries across the world, helping people establish programming and public spaces vital for community development.
Combining education, social responsibility, culture and environmental stewardship, we can’t help but love Cleveland Botanical Garden’s mission to enable communities to appreciate and benefit from the role that plants play in our lives. Through off-site urban learning gardens and outdoor workshops with Cleveland schools, the Garden’s holistic approach to learning and engagement shows true leadership and passion for green space, overall improving people’s understanding of the interdependence of plants, people and the environment.
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