In a cohort study entitled, “Association of Urban Green Space With Mental Health and General Health Among Adults in Australia”, conducted by Thomas Astell-Burt & Xiaoqi Feng (2019), it was concluded that protection and restoration of urban tree canopy specifically, rather than any urban greening, may be a good option for promotion of community mental health.
Exposure to 30% or more tree canopy compared to 0% to 9% tree canopy was associated with 31% lower odds of incident psychological distress, whereas exposure to 30% or more grass was associated with 71% higher odds of prevalent psychological distress after adjusting for age, sex, income, economic status, couple status, and educational level.
What this sum up to, in a nutshell, is that investment in green open spaces provides support in one’s mental health as well as the general well-being and overall health.
Globally not just locally, the common criticism is that many urban parks and green spaces, in particular those in residential areas are unimaginative, repetitive and lack basic elements to evoke these effects posed on us by the power of nature.
Green is the Well-Being Colour
As the density of Maltese population continues to increase and more of us live in apartments and/or work in office blocks, it is great to see strategies implemented by the present government to invest in tree cover, green walls and other urban greening implementations in infrastructural projects more generally across Malta.
Word on the street is that many people yearn and crave nature to restore their well-being as it has been scientifically proven, time and again, that nature does in fact have a restorative effect on cognitive and emotional function. Activities such as walking or even exercising in green spaces seem to amplify the positive effects on the brain.
The Malta National Park
When the idea of the Ta’ Qali National Park first stemmed, to many it seemed like a fairy tale destined to remain on paper. It was a wise choice to transform a vast tract of land accommodating dead factories into Malta’s largest park. A creative park planned to uplift Maltese citizen’s spirit by offering the people cultural, artistic, musical and sportive facilities where they can make good use of their leisure time. Boasting a woodland of 80,000 new trees, the Malta National Park will be a green tree cover like a superfood for our community.
The Mdina Playground and others
During these last few years, communities in Malta have seen a rapid change for their greater good. Whereas before, the term open space was almost never heard, today is a different matter. The by and large of Maltese communities have started to enjoy new open spaces as well as renovated and restored ones.
The recent announcement of the restoration of the Mdina playground was a sure treat for children, as this is one of the most visited playgrounds in Malta.
The Mdina playground is just a piece of the puzzle, as other projects have been carried out in various localities, including the Għar Barka open space in Rabat, the Mitħna open space in Żebbuġ, the Dingli and Siġġiewi open spaces and various others.
Projects like these serve the communities, children and provide the perfect space to spend one’s leisure time in a peaceful and healthy environment.