Home » Stories » Living close by parks and greenhouses improve your health and quality of life

Living close by parks and greenhouses improve your health and quality of life


Our cities keep expanding every day with buildings springing up and green areas reducing. Yet, new research from Tshwane suggests that policies and city officials are not paying attention to the potential benefits of local people using green areas in the city.

Research has shown that living around green areas, which is like practicing urban agriculture, planting of trees, greenhouse, park area relaxation, community or house gardening, etc., are very beneficial to individual’s social well-being and health.

Read Titilope F. Onaolapo’s opinion piece in the Conversation.com Parks versus people? Challenges facing the South African capital’s greening efforts  

Literature showed that the sub-Sahara Africa has an urbanization growth rate of a 3.5% annually, which portends that the green areas are depleting in our cities and that has a direct effect on our environment and standard of living.

The Aarhus University, Denmark and the University of Pretoria, South Africa, studied the green space planning in Tshwane in this green infrastructure research project. Green infrastructure experts and city officials were interviewed by the researchers. Relevant policy documents that treat planning green spaces in the city were also reviewed.

The studies revealed that there is no Tshwane policy document that is dedicated to planning green spaces for the benefit of the inhabitants in the city. 80% of the reviewed documents’ attention are on solving climate problems, and most of the city officials work according to the existing policy document.

We are not criticizing the existing green policy documents. But our research shows that there is a lack of policies and attention to making nice green areas for the benefit of people living in the city, says Titilope F. Onaolapo, one of the researchers behind the project.

The researchers emphasize that creating a Green Infrastructure working paper will complement other planning documents and guide sustainable development in the city of Tshwane.

More about the research project Integrative Green Infrastructure Planning

Titilope F. Onaolapo is a postdoc fellow, University of Pretoria. This press release was written during the Bridging the Gap. Science for the Public communications seminar for Danida supported researchers.

Go back to our stories