The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) has launched a new online guide to educate folks on the benefits of exposing themselves to nature. The polemic makes the case that there are long- and short-term health advantages of spending time alfresco, whether in the wilderness or in community parks. Health Benefits of Nature involves hundreds of case studies, research studies, and news articles that are categorized into 23 health concerns such as depression, asthma, stress, and general health to emphasize nature as a critical health tool.
Working with top experts in the field, ASLA “created this guide to expand public awareness about the benefits of green spaces, as well as to urge people to get out and take advantage of the designed and natural landscapes available to them,” explained Nancy Somerville, CEO of ASLA. The online guide is easily navigable; each health topic is briefly introduced, and is followed by sections focusing on “How Nature Helps,” research, resources, organizations, the “Role of the Landscape Architect,” and case studies.
The guide, which is part of ASLA’s series of sustainable design resources, highlights the benefits of both the natural wilderness and public green spaces. For instance, in urban and suburban areas, nature provides an opportunity to break from routine stressors, and landscape architects work to make nature more accessible within communities by planning safe, attractive, and recuperative spaces. Communities can utilize ASLA’s guide to discover how they can collaborate with landscape architects to successfully incorporate nature into the built environment, thereby introducing opportunities to go outside and exercise.
The public is invited to contribute additional research by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Health Benefits of Nature has arrived just in time for ASLA’s launching of The Landscape Architect’s Guide to Boston, which is set for next Monday.