Urbanization and the gradual shift of population from rural to urban areas pose a global concern over the years. Although, there is a dip in the increase in the population rate as compared to the recent past, one must not ignore the upper hand a green space provides in a congested city. The prevailing culture of filling up every small plot with a house deprives all living beings of a sustainable and healthy atmosphere. The benefits of providing plenty of green pockets are in-numerous and must be the first step in the betterment of society and the environment in the long run.
What are green pockets?
Green pocket or green space is a part of green infrastructure and an essential component in public open spaces that serves the community from a broader perspective. Open spaces inclusive of greenery near areas of high human activity such as residential, office, school, etc. provide scope for recreation and enhance the beauty and environmental quality of neighbourhoods. Being in a cramped environment for a long time, whether at home or work poses a hazard to one’s physical and mental well being. Thus the presence of such spaces nearby encourage activities involving health and well being provided with places to rest after the exercise while promoting new communities and social exchange between neighbours.
Common Examples Of Green Pockets
Most commonly found green spaces are:
1. Vegetation barriers and trees found on either side of roads and railway tracks.
2. Small urban green pockets, mainly gardens, pocket parks and playgrounds.
3. Green roofs and facades.
4. Large urban green pockets mainly Urban Meadows.
5. Greenways and corridors.
6. Recreational and community gardening facilities.
7. Urban woodlands, forests and natural wildlife areas.
CHARACTERISTICS THAT INFLUENCE THE FUNCTIONING OF GREEN POCKETS
The functioning of green spaces depends on the following aspects:
Access to the green spaces greatly determines the frequency of people visiting the place. These may include the presence of nearby homes, schools, offices etc. and the traffic flow from nearby access roads.
Quality and maintenance of green spaces play a significant role in its functionality over time. Poorly maintained vegetation and skipping of regular trimming of grass easily fends off visitors and residents.
The facilities provided including benches, food stalls, toilets etc. can make the stay at such spaces much comfortable and pleasant. Providing facilities are followed by its maintenance and not doing so result in the opposite outcome.
Greenery itself is an aid to the attractiveness of any urban open space. Erecting statues, installation and other such art pieces along with well-maintained vegetation enhance the aesthetics of green spaces.
Due to its proximity to buildings occupied by humans such as apartments and offices, one must not ignore the security of green pockets. Lack of security and privacy transformed beautiful gardens to criminal grounds.
BENEFITS AND LIMITATIONS FROM GREEN POCKETS
There are countless benefits of the presence of green pockets mainly:
- Open Space
The openness of green pockets facilitates people to relax and relieve themselves from the cramped, stressful routine in life with a breath of fresh air.
- Conservation of Energy
Green pockets make use of less energy and material wastage as compared to built structures, making it a sustainable option for open areas.
The initial setting up green pockets in cities requires less funding compared to setting up built structures in the same plot.
- Environmental Benefits
Green pockets help clean the environment and reduce air pollution to a great extent by reducing UHIE (Urban Heat Island Effect) that comes from heat produced from concrete structures. They also help fight against natural calamities such as floods and earthquakes.
- Increased Property Value
The increase in property value benefits the owners, whether a privately owned house or place of business. It also helps improve employee productivity and client satisfaction if located near offices.
- Provision of Recreational Space
Green spaces have scope for recreational areas and facilities such as cycling tracks, playground, auditoriums etc. that equally encourage children and adults to be more active.
- Economic Development
The green infrastructure is one of the fastest-growing segments of the nation’s agricultural economy consisting of green roof construction, sustainable landscaping, waste reduction services etc.
Although less compared to the benefits, these are the challenges faced while designing green pockets:
- Ongoing High Maintenance
Poor maintenance of green spaces over time is one of the biggest failures observed for its dysfunctionality.
- Difficulty in funding
Regular funding for green spaces, in the long run, may not be possible due to its ownership by private organisations.
- Competing Urban Planning
With new roads, metros, buildings and change in the layout of the city, this gradual transformation of cities over time could hinder the existence of green spaces. The planning of cities tends to take green spaces lightly due to a shortage of land.
The incorporation of green pockets in overcrowded cities has more benefits than limitations. But such challenges can be easily solved with the collective support of the community and not to be ignored.
Thus, society becomes progressive only when the picture of the future in the minds of the people depicted with green infrastructure and architecture inclusive of vegetation and environment replaces the surreal imagery of flying cars and buildings powered with Artificial Intelligence.