This has been a question in my mind for a while now. Living here in a hot, arid environment where the majority of land is desert. Do people brought up in different surroundings need green spaces? Does green do the same thing in terms of health benefits, mental health benefits for everyone? Following North American, South American and European trends, how can places like the Middle East fit into this newer practice of building up green areas? Should they follow models created in climates that have more green naturally, have the water resources, have the planning and infrastructure to implement these changes?
I attended a recent lunch time talk about greening urban environments. It was very interesting and I am just in the beginnings of learning about this discipline. Most of the work is being done in Europe, North America and South America. Dubai was the only arid city mentioned. I thought for SURE Singapore would have been the model city discussed however it wasn’t presented in this talk. What caught my attention was how green spaces were being built in the above mentioned areas, however there wasn’t really any mention of what to do with places like Alexandria, Egypt. And that was my question posed there. How can the discipline be brought into places with high population density, stress on water resources, high air pollution, high temperature sites with lower financial resources? One of the answers was that small public areas could be created rather than big areas, say inner courtyards and small city squares. I’d say NYC should be extremely thankful of the forward thinking city planners when Central Park was built! If it hadn’t of been built, imagine how hard it would be to try and build that type of green into a packed city today!
Anyhow, what’s wrong with desert? If that is the natural surrounding, how to make “green space” thinking evolve to fit a different “sand space”. Well, luckily I have just found a new great blog site written by Huda Shaka who lives in Dubai. She is a consultant and works in this field. I have included her blog page below in case you want to read more by someone in the know. (I know I do).