Pocket Parks; Learning from China on Natural Spaces
China is purposing to build more pocket parks for the year 2022 as a way to improve people’s living environments. The country aims at building 1000 pocket parks for this year; a fete that will transform a lot of urban spaces to give people room for relaxing.
A pocket park is defined as a small open urban space accessible to the general public. It is often endowed with green vegetation, relaxing spots, walking paths, and sometimes flowing waterways. They are usually found near residential or office spaces.
Among the key features of pocket, parks are their comfortability, accessibility, friendliness to let users engage in various activities, and promotion of socializing. It is very important to ensure that all of these factors are met when planning and designing pocket parks.
The question that lingers in people’s minds is where does China, with its limited space get room to build pocket parks? And the answer is usually simple. Where there is a will, there is a way. It means that once you decide to undertake a certain activity, you will innovate if your will to succeed exceeds your fear of failure. So however small the space is, a pocket park can be built there. That is how China has been able to scout for small public spaces and turn them into pocket parks.
This is a challenge to other countries in their efforts to conserve the environment and increase the amount of ground cover occupied by natural environments. A lot of people have found parks, in general, to help them reconnect with themselves besides offering a relaxing atmosphere that has a healing effect.
As with everything good, challenges are poised to arise. There has been a worry that yes, building pocket parks is not the very hard part, maintaining them is. To ensure that this is well catered for, the private sector comes to play together with the general public.
Taking the example of Kenya, there is a lot of land that can be turned into pocket parks across the various urban places in Kenya. Nairobi has a lot of public lands that have been grabbed over which could have been turned into pocket parks.
Among places such as Eastland, pocket parks can be integrated into the various open spaces within the estates. The same can be done with other places. The only challenge is the notion that the initiative needs to be taken by the government.
The advantages of pocket parks include the transformation of neglected and underused real estate spaces in urban areas, local wildlife and landscape conservation, reduced pollution, improves health and fitness among the residents of urban areas, increased tree cover, enhances and making communities more sociable among others.
We could be having parks yet the need for pocket parks cannot be overemphasized. At least for our leaders, ensuring we have a new pocket park for every term served could go a long way to transform our environments and improve the quality of our living.