The benefits of greenspaces

Greenspaces are defined as urban vegetated space that broadly encompass publicly accessible areas with natural vegetation. Greenspaces are anything from community woodlands, green roofs, landscapes around buildings, wetlands, street trees, urban parks, and gardens. KwaZulu-Natal is at an advantage, having access to many green spaces within urban areas, some of them protected.

Aside from looking good and providing recreation, urban greenspaces provide various health and social benefits.  Greenspaces improve air quality, storm water flows, counteracts urban heat islands, stores carbon, mitigates climate change impacts, and creates employment opportunities.

Additionally, greenspaces are pivotal when it comes to a habitat for a variety of birds, fish, animals, insects, and other organisms. As many areas saw during the start of the pandemic across the globe, when wildlife became more prevalent in cities as humans stayed indoors more. It is also evident that as cities grow so does the animal life.

Here are some interesting articles on birdlife in the green spaces of Durban.

We are seeing more often that urban greening is being adopted as a major strategy in cities for both environmental and social sustainability.  A recent article in the Independent Online on “Exploring the benefits of Durban’s Metropolitan Open Space System” shows ways in which Durban is looking into protecting the urban greenery and increasing its biodiversity standards. The Durban Metropolitan Open Space System or D’MOSS as it is more widely known, currently occupies around 940 square kilometres of green and wild spaces in and around Durban.

Furthermore, people are interacting and understanding the importance of green urban spaces more. A great example is the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge. The challenge encourages residents to actively participate and observe wildlife in and around the city and to upload images of flora and fauna findings during a set time. Observations can be made anywhere: the beach, around your neighbourhood, parks, reserves, etc.

Read our previous article on what open access looks like in a post COVID world.