Biophilia in the Big City

Many city dwellers deal with not only long lines and traffic, but even their environment is negative on their health. Studies show that being in nature can lower stress levels, lower inflammation, improve concentration, lead to less anxiety, and reduce inflammation which causes many autoimmune diseases. I’ve been on top of mountains at sunset, and the openness and tranquility can soothe the soul.

Yet cities ain’t all that bad. I mean the mountains are great, but not many want to drive an hour to get to “civilization”. The biggest cities usually have the best in entertainment, history, food, and other amenities. Town markets in the old days that gave birth to the modern cities do have their advantages as a center of commerce. Isn’t there a way to combine the two?

Enter biophilic cities.

The idea is probably unfamiliar to most. The concept though is as old as the vines that grow along side of homes.

biophillichouse

There are many benefits of simply growing shrubbery on buildings from those in the picture above to vertical gardens on balconies and windows. The green color provides the therapeutic aspects of nature. The plants also remove pollution, odors, and carbon dioxide from the air; they can even provide food in more areas than just farmland, including rooftop urban gardens. Furthermore, it would feel cooler outside as it would reduce the urban heat island effect aka. hot concrete.

In particular, roofs are the most underutilized real estate in buildings. With direct exposure usually to the sun and rain, it makes the case for growing plants or harvesting energy all the more sensible. You can generate something of value on a roof that was just a liability for routine maintenance and replacement. The structural problems of the roofs would be nearly inconsequential. Plants barely weigh anything, and a good layout could minimize soil use.

The following describes this issue in America’s largest city:

nycmeme
“Green roofs can cool near-surface air temperatures by an average of 16.4 degrees Celsius per unit area—slightly behind street trees in terms of heat island mitigating potential, according to a 2006 report from the New York City Regional Heat Island Initiative. And the obvious advantage to green rooftops is that they don’t take up valuable ground-level space. “Roof space is just this wasted resource,” Gaffin explains. “We have somewhere between 30 and 40 square miles [in New York City]—that’s 22 times Central Park!”

Some people want to go back to nature. Others just don’t want it to be so freaking hot during summer in cities. We shouldn’t have to go back to caves and cabins to reconnect with nature and improve the climate in addition to reaping economic benefits. We need some Johnny Apple Seeds to plant for the future!

apple.JPG

Imma billionaire in apple seeds but can’t get a decent pair of pants!

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