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Rewilding Cities: Wellness and Nature

When nature is integrated into urbanism, wellness surges. Hazel Borys looks at the benefits.
January 17, 2017, 11am PST | Scott Doyon
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Bosque de Chapultapec
Leonardo Emiliozzi

"The idea of rewilding started out as a movement to conserve, restore, and connect natural areas, and has expanded to how we reintegrate ancient practices into our modern lives. From a flat-footed squat to full emersion in nature to structured programs like ReWild Portland, the idea of letting go of some of our domestication to reconnect with nature is compelling. From a city planning perspective, the rewilding ideas that interest me the most are the inspiration of cities, towns and villages that are making nature more accessible to our everyday habits. And the paybacks for those efforts. When nature is integrated into urbanism, wellness surges."

"'Within five minutes in the trees, our heart rate goes down and within 10 minutes our brain re-sets our attention span,' according to Dr. Nooshin Razani. This is increasingly important because of our connected, always-on habits. Our wired lifestyle offers up constant distractions – much of which didn’t exist a scant decade ago. So we have evolved few coping mechanisms to deal with the subsequent hormones: cortisol from stress and adrenaline from our fight-or-flight response to technologies’ constant jolts."

Borys looks at results of a walk in the park to one by an auto sewer, and other measures of how nature impacts wellness in cities.

Skinny streets, short blocks, and street trees shield from arctic blasts in Winnipeg’s active core. CreativeCommons ShareAlike License, with Attribution to Hazel Borys, 2017.

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Published on Tuesday, January 17, 2017 in PlaceShakers
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