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Impact of Sustainability & Environmental Improvement on Urban Environments

Instructor: Fawn Goodberry

Fawn has taught as a brain training instructor with the Learning Rx. In graduate school served as a teaching assistant for Introduction to Evolution and Ecology and Population Genetics. She received her masters degree in biology in 2013.

While some of us love and thrive in the big city lights, some of us prefer the slower pace of the suburbs or country. Recently however, improvements to urban environments have made city living not only healthier but also more enjoyable.

Creating Sustainable Cities

Picture a city, big or small. What are some of the images that come to mind? Most likely you think of sky-scrapers, heavy traffic, lots of people, and concrete. You probably don't think of green spaces, trees, gardens and nature. Typically these things just don't go together.

However, as more cities are built and more people pack into them, the need to create sustainable cities grows. Great things are taking place in cities right now that help create healthier and happier environments in urban areas. Let's take a look at how sustainability and environmental improvements affect urban lifestyles.

The Need for Sustainable Urban Environments

With increase in industry and city populations growing, some key problems arise.

  • Inadequate household water and sanitation: Sound familiar? This problem became quite public when the mayor of Flint Michigan declared a state of emergency for the city due to lack of clean water.
  • Pollution: Outdoor air pollution, pollution of rivers, lakes, streams and soils. Things like cars, industry and waste management all contribute to pollution.
  • Ecological disruption: When cities and urban development take place they are often built over habitat of plants and animals. This leads to a decline in environmental health and diversity.

These problems contribute to an unhealthy environment, which leads to unhappy and unhealthy people. Things like noise pollution, increased greenhouse gasses, and pollution in the city affect our health in a variety of ways. People connect with nature or take their kids to play in cities with limited green spaces or large parks. This leads to the demise of overall well-being among residents of these urban environments.

With more and more people in urban environments, the need to create environmentally sustainable cities has become crucial. Luckily, city planning has come along way. Many cities are trying to solve these problems to create better environments and a better future for us all.

Urban Environment Improvements

Have you heard about or seen any updates in cities near you that you think have improved the life of its residents? What are some of your favorite cities and why?

Many cities are improving or adding green cover or green space, spaces or planned areas that have plants and trees. In addition to health and wellness benefits for residents, they create buffer zones against noise pollution and help filter pollutants from the air. They also create refuge for wildlife that may have otherwise been completely pushed out of the areas.

Civic Center Denver, Colorado
green space

Urban Gardens

Urban Gardens are becoming very popular in many cities across America. Urban gardens create access to healthy foods. They stimulate non-traditional learning for children and communities and provide an opportunity to connect and give back to the community.

An Example of an Urban Garden
urban garden

Many city planners are designing cities to have less sprawl. This makes urban environments more walk-able and easier to get around, which makes residents happier. Wouldn't you be happier if you didn't have to sit in traffic so much?

Water Conservation

Water conservation has become a widespread issue for all communities due to the high need for water in the agricultural industry. Water scarcity creates severe economic losses, and improving water conservation has become crucial for city budgets. Generally, what's good for the environment will be good for the economy.

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