Why We Need to Fill the Green Space Gap

Closing the disparities in access to nature is imperative for health and social justice.

“Go outside and play!” Countless parents have said this to their kids in the hopes of finding a few quiet moments. But it turns out to be scientifically sound advice, too.

A raft of research shows that being outdoors rewards us. A dose of nature can boost creativity, elicit experiences of awe that increase altruism, and improve mental health outcomes.

According to a report from Active Living Research and the National Recreational and Park Association, neighborhoods that include parks, gardens, and trails are associated with higher levels of physical activity and less cardiovascular disease.

Natural areas can also support social cohesion — a benefit that is especially important during a pandemic.

“2020 has reminded us that social connection matters,” says environmental justice advocate and JPB Fellow Viniece Jennings, PhD. “Urban green spaces are a place where people can decompress, meet at a distance, and share common interests.” Read more.