Guess what? Research from all around the world supports the view that landscape in general, and gardens in particular, can have a marked positive impact on our mental and physical health. Depression and other mental health issues are most easily helped through regular activity and exercise outdoors. Our biophilia, or our innate love of living things, means that by reconnecting with nature we can inexpensively and cost-effectively manage health and well-being.
Children have a right to play and to live and develop to their full capacity, enshrined in the UN Rights of the Child Articles 6 and 31. With home gardens becoming smaller, and more people living in apartments with little or no outdoor space, it is important we provide opportunities for children and adults to access gardens.
The photo shows a young boy pouring water from one container to another, sitting in a larger container. Beside him is a swing, hung from a tree, shaped like a horse. By bringing containers to a park, and having a water supply available, it is possible to recreate the experiences he would have had at home, if he lived in a property with its own garden. It comes down to how we design and develop our public spaces.
Given our need and right to access nature for health and well-being it is vital that we, as landscape and urban designers, provide those spaces in and around housing developments, wherever they may be. City parks can recreate the feeling of home gardens. It just takes a new way of looking at landscape.