Landscape architects and land planners have an impact not only on the shape of our cities and homes, but on the condition of our physical and mental health as well. We can reduce the over $400 billion in current health care costs related to transportation planning through sustainable land use and green building.
Sustainable planning reduces human exposure to harmful substances in water by removing pollutants out of stormwater runoff. Strategic planning also reduces obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular problems by providing pedestrian corridors and recreational outdoor spaces that encourage walking and exercise. Air pollution increases asthma, a significant cause of illness in children, and can be mitigated through landscapes that filter the air of particulates.
A growing body of evidence supports the mental health benefits of green space, including the reduction of depression and anxiety. Humans better cope with stress and form bonds with others when living near natural green spaces, creating a stronger community that is more resilient in times of crisis. Many schools are implementing environmental education which has increased test scores and reduced juvenile delinquency.
- Joan Piccalo, April 2013