In the New Century Economic Development Plan for the City of Atlanta, growing dedicated parks
and greenspace ranks in the City->s top ten initiatives
to achieve by 2009. Why? Because parks and greenspace
are a vital element of health and economic prosperity
for a community which values healthy neighborhoods
and an excellent quality of life.
To learn more about making money with parks and greenspace >>click here
Did you know that parks and greenspace have significant public health benefits?*
Key Point #1
Health studies have shown that contact with nature offers a range of medical benefits including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, enhanced survival after a heart attack, more rapid recovery from surgery, fewer minor medical complaints, and lower self-reported stress. In children with attention disorders and in teens with behavioral disorders, contact with nature has resulted in significant improvement.
Key Point #2
Physical activity opportunities in parks help to increase fitness and reduce obesity. A study in the October 2000 issue of The Physician and Sportsmedicine found that physically active individuals had lower annual direct medical costs than did inactive people. If all inactive American adults became physically active, the potential savings could be $76.6 billion in 2000 dollars.
Key Point #3
Parks resources can mitigate climate, air and water pollution impacts on public health. As just one example, an Urban Ecosystem Analysis conducted by American Forests revealed that in Atlanta, trees removes 19 million pounds of pollutants each year, providing a service valued at $47 million.
Did you also know that money does grow on trees? Going green can keep your company in the black.**
- The presence of trees increases a property->s value between 3 percent and 7 percent.
- Shoppers are willing to pay up to 11 percent more for products purchased in shops along tree-lined streets than they would pay for the same items in a barren setting.
- Strategically placed trees can cut summer air conditioning costs for businesses by as much as 50 percent or more.
- Trees can intercept between 7 percent and 22 percent of storm water runoff from impermeable surfaces.
- Employers report greater employee productivity, satisfaction and retention at properties endowed with trees and other vegetation.
Invest Atlanta is committed to supporting the City->s initiative to grow parks and greenspace by 1900 acres by 2009. Invest Atlanta works with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs and the Department of Planning and Community Development to facilitate the evaluation, funding and acquisition of properties that enhance the existing network of parks and trails throughout the City.
Additionally, Invest Atlanta works with The Trust for Public Land and The Conservation Fund, both nationally renowned land preservation organizations, to identify and protect properties essential to a healthy parks system. The City->s Department of Watershed Management, through its Greenway Acquisition Project, plays a major role in the conservation of greenways along priority streams throughout the area. Through coordinated teamwork, Invest Atlanta works with all of these organizations, combining their resources to enhance Atlanta->s parks, greenspace and greenways. Invest Atlanta also encourages residential and commercial developers to incorporate greenspace and trails within their development projects.
Helpful resources can be found at the following sites:
City of Atlanta
Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs
Department of Planning and Community Development
Department of Watershed Management
The Trust for Public Land
The Conservation Fund
The Georgia Land Trust
The Nature Conservancy
Georgia Urban Forestry Council
Atlanta Regional Commission
The Center for Disease Control
* The three Key Points were taken from the American Planning Association->s City Parks Forum Briefing Paper, ->How Cities Use Parks for Public Health Benefits.-> www.planning.org/cfp
** Information from SHADE 2005 page 4, a publication of Georgia Urban Forest Council. www.gufc.org