One, parks were of mostly aesthetic value. As cities sprouted up and grew dense with concrete and people, humans realized that they were quickly losing something of value: green space. We started setting aside spaces here and there where we could go to enjoy the outdoors, unspoiled by urban life.
Today, we’re facing a serious problem: global warming and all its disastrous consequences. And, as much as green spaces still pop up or are reserved for their aesthetic value, they’re becoming even more important for other reasons. Like the natural green space we’ve lost, parks are one thing that could help protect us from natural disasters—and from ourselves.
Parks have been, and will continue to become incredibly functional. They can help absorb water runoff, protect cities from the effects of flooding, reduce pollution, and renew interest in growing food—with an urban twist, of course. Earlier this year, Seattle announced plans to open the country’s largest “food forest,” which will eventually have several different sections: an edible arboretum, a berry patch, a community garden, a gathering plaza, and more. All the food that grows there will be free for the picking.
Seattle’s Beacon Food Forest is just one example, but there are many other green spaces around the country and the world that exist or are being developed to help us combat many of the human-caused issues we’re dealing with today.
If we are to survive well into the future, we’ve got to find a way to live in conjunction with Nature, not in opposition to it. That means more green spaces, parks, and eco-friendly buildings. Already some cities are utilizing rooftop gardens (Brooklyn, Seattle), energy self-sustaining buildings, and more. We don’t know exactly what to expect in the future, but we hope it includes lots of the color green.