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Changing PlacesThe Science and Art of New Urban Planning$
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John MacDonald, Charles Branas, and Robert Stokes

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691195216

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691195216.001.0001

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The Nature Cure

The Nature Cure

(p.79) 5 The Nature Cure
Changing Places

John Macdonald

Charles Branas

Robert Stokes

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at interventions for land and open spaces and their impact on public health and safety. Abandoned, vacant, and neglected land is of great and growing concern in many cities. The chapter considers recent efforts to address this sort of land-based blight and how planners can partner with scientists to implement and evaluate land-remediation and zoning strategies to best improve public health and safety. In many ways, these changes represent the innate human desire for nature and green spaces. Without action from planners and landscape architects, such natural spaces would not exist in many of the cities. The chapter then showcases several studies that provide evidence that the mere presence of green spaces have healing and calming effects, an effect that occurs even if residents do not actively use these spaces. Indeed, there have been myriad efforts over the past decade or so by cities to revisit and reinvigorate their green and open-space planning efforts. Much of this effort has been to insert managed green spaces into smaller parcels and equitably distribute them across neighborhoods that lack access to larger green spaces. This pocket-park movement has economic drivers but, in some cities, also seeks to leverage the likely health benefits to local residents.

Keywords:   land, open spaces, public health, public safety, land-remediation strategies, zoning strategies, green spaces, open-space planning, pocket-park movement

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