Our city parks are crucial places for health, livability, and vibrancy of our communities. Parks are important resources for relaxation and recreation in the urban environment. They are settings for both physical activity and mental restoration. They are fundamental to the social fabric of our communities, providing opportunities for interaction among family members, between friends, strangers, and generations, and among diverse members of our community. Parks are reflections of our cultural identities, communal, democratic spaces in civic life, and affordable resources for recreation, health, and social cohesion that are (or should be) accessible by all. Parks also help balance the hard, built surfaces of our city. And they serve essential infrastructure functions in our urban ecosystem, absorbing storm water and preventing flooding, providing habitat and corridors for urban wildlife, and housing vast swaths of our urban forest - the lungs, pollutant filters, and air conditioning units of our cities.
To get a full picture of the important benefits that parks, gardens, natural areas, and trees provide in our cities, check out this amazing compilation of nearly 40 years of scientific research. Nice and easy Fast Facts... full citations for the original studies... the Green Cities: Good Health site is a great resource from the University of Washington!