Beyond the green
This week on Podparks, Alice discusses the role of parks in today’s world with guests Mayu Ferrufino, AP Diaz, Tim Geyer, Marian Stuiver and Julia Bresee.
Mayu Ferrufino, Director of Fundación Parque Cuscatlán, recalls her first experiences with the park system and how it led her to become a park professional. Parks have a bigger role than ever before, and their direct impact on the communities that surround them is growing every day.
Mayu is echoed by AP Diaz, Superintendent of Seattle Parks and Recreation, who outlines how parks have become essential gathering spaces in modern cities, where fewer people have access to outdoor spaces in their homes.
The episode also discusses the health benefits of parks. Alice chats with Tim Geyer, Deputy-Chair of World Urban Parks, who highlights some of the main findings that have come out of collaborations between WUP and the World Health Organization.
There’s growing evidence of the benefits of green urban spaces in addressing some of the root causes of cities’ most common diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, mental illness, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
As Tim notes, the health benefits of parks extend beyond these correlations, and have an even larger impact on women, vulnerable communities and children. Discover these correlations in WHO’s report titled “Urban Spaces and Health: A Review of Evidence”.
Having access to green spaces can also give people formative experiences in nature that can push them to advocate for conservation efforts and climate action beyond their communities. Marian Stuiver, Social Scientist at Wageningen University, highlights how natural experiences can promote stewardship of urban green.
Julia Bresee, Manager of the National Urban Parks Program at Parks Canada, explains how this stewardship can translate into direct conservation and climate action in cities. As cities get hotter and climate change more present in communities, parks have become natural solutions for adaptation and mitigation, and increase community resilience.
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