How do we turn a drain into valued green space? First, ask the residents


The green infrastructure of our cities includes both publicly owned, designed and delineated areas and less formal, unplanned areas of vegetation — informal green spaces. These spaces account for a large proportion of urban green areas. However, they are often among the most overlooked and neglected urban spaces, which contributes to negative perceptions, a recent study has found.

Yet informal green spaces represent a largely untapped opportunity to improve liveability and residents’ health and social well-being. Especially in lower socioeconomic areas that lack formal green spaces, improving the condition of informal green spaces can promote their use and enhance neighbourhood liveability.

Further reading: Our cities need more green spaces for rest and play — here’s how

WE CAN'T AFFORD TO WASTE GREEN SPACE

Green spaces are important indicators of quality of life in cities and suburbs. They are shown to have a wide range of positive impacts.

For residents, the benefits include physical, mental and social health and wellbeing. The multiple environmental benefits include ecosystem services, improving microclimate and reducing air pollution, alongside biodiversity conservation.

Owing to such benefits, governments invest a lot in greening projects or improving green spaces. Sometimes these interventions include informal green spaces to increase their accessibility, use and potential benefits to residents.