Good quality greenspace vital to children's development, conference hears

Access to quality greenspace and landscape is vital for children's development and the well-being of future urbanites, as cities continue to expand, an international green infrastructure conference heard.

Access to green space and nature aids children's development
Access to green space and nature aids children's development

At the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) International Green City Conference, supported by Expo 2016 Antalya, in Antalya, Turkey on 27 September, a leading environmental psychologist, professor Agnes van den Berg from the Netherlands, said that losing the ability to roam can impact on children’s development, presenting research that shows that giving children more access to nature can improve their motor skills.

A US-based writer whose books about children and nature have been translated into 15 languages, Richard Louv, outlined the dangers of Nature Deficit Disorder, an effect of increasing urbanisation and fear of crime. In order to protect their children, parents often stop their children exploring the natural world alone, something which is leading to a generation of children increasingly detached from their environment.

Delegates from 33 different countries heard how green cities can become a reality and how this would benefit people’s lives. Subjects included the importance of city greening in Antalya, greening in challenging situations such as a vertical wall in Singapore containing 30,000 plants, improving the living environment for two million citizens in the hostile environment of Qatar and developing micro-climates, providing all citizens with a park within 10 minutes’ walk of their homes in Chinese city of Yangzhou.

Having access to high-quality play spaces in our parks was a key point of the Association of Play Industries’ submission to the current Communities and Local Government Committee Parks Inquiry, which said that that parks cuts were putting children’s access to safe places to play at risk. The API’s submission also said that urban parks provide a public service as hubs for physical activity for people of all ages 

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