There is a clear and scientifically proven benefit to the restorative benefits of being in natural, wild environments: our blood pressure lowers, our minds are at peace, our lungs are breathing cleaner air.
While parks in urban areas cannot provide the same level of benefits as our National Parks, they are nonetheless provide spaces for physical activity that range from walking, running, to frisbee, basketball, and tai chi. The Trust for Public Land's report on how urban park systems can promote health and wellness should be a must-read for all mayors, health officials, and city planners.
I agree with the recent article published by ASLA, whichs argues "We Must Better Communicate the Health Benefits of Nature". How to frame the public perception that parks are more than "nice to have"? Shouldn't public parks be equally distributed around our cities instead of the nice ones being in wealthier neighborhoods? How can we, how can landscape architects, frame the perception so that parks are believed to be a civil right because they are critical to public health?