parks and sustainable living

Many people know about how global climate change and other human actions are radically altering the climate of the planet and making extreme weather patterns more common. What is the greatest concern to me is how humanity is affecting the local wildlife of almost every community in the world. There are large areas of the world that are directly or indirectly affected by human industry and agriculture, even most “natural” parks and farms have plants, animals, and landscapes that would never have been there without human intervention.

People may love nature, but they often want a form of nature that is human made, the biggest example that comes to mind is Lincoln Park in Chicago. The original idea for the park would have incorporated native plants, but would have had a mown meadow and walkways, but after the government seized the property for military purposes, a hedge of honey suckle was planted that attracted thousands of birds of many different species.

There is ongoing debate on what to do with the land, should the honey suckle, now called the magic hedge by bird watchers, be replanted? Or should the park be used for recreation, or transformed into a pre-Columbian wilderness for conservation? Obtaining a balance of what people want is the hardest thing to do with land sometimes.


“Native Gardening.” Native Gardening. USDA Forest Service, n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.

“Creating Sustainable Community Parks.” : ConservationTools. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.

Gobster, Paul H. “Visions of Nature: Conflict and Compatibility in Urban Park Restoration.” Landscape and Urban Planning 56.1-2 (2001): 35-51. Web.

Landscape And Urban Planning 69 (2004) 315–3. Landscape and Urban Planning 69 (2004) 315–334 Community Identities as Visions for Landscape Change (n.d.): n. pag. University of Illinois. Web.

“Energizing Sustainable Cities.” (2012): n. pag. Web.

2015, and Apr. Ecological Restoration in Urban Parks: Achieving Historical Fidelity (n.d.): n. pag. Web.


One thought on “parks and sustainable living

  1. Today lack of green space in urban areas is a problem that worry residents and urge us to change the way we live. Green spaces are very important to maintain ecosystems and they are a great way to use the land. Also, green spaces offer various psychological and environmental benefits besides beautifying communities, making them more livable and ecologically. Unfortunately, green spaces are often limited in dense urban cities. You pointed out the debate about what to do with the land. I found a very interesting and unique idea to incorporate greener spaces/nature conservation into dense cities which is greening the alleys.
    Alleys in Chicago are underutilized asset that could repurpose to increase green spaces.
    The environmental benefits of green alleys is tremendous. One is it could divert rainwater into a groundwater supply, preventing some flooding. It would do this by using permeable paving. In addition, dealing with storm water in this way could reduce the cost that goes to the treating of the storm water. Moreover, it could also reduce the ‘urban heat island effect’ in which urban dense areas become hotter during summer times due to the density of people, building and paved routes (Green Alley Handbook, 2010), by introducing some green space that absorbs less heat.
    Green alleys can be a reasonable and practical use of the land. It could not only increase sustainability in the neighborhood but safety as well. It is a unique idea for Chicago neighborhoods because it offers a solution for the problem of flooding in many areas of the city.

    City of Chicago’s Official Website. Green Alleys Program. 2016. Web. January 29, 2016.


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