In case you missed the first “The Mill Talks” speaker series. Pascal Mittermaier (Global Cities Director, The Nature Conservancy) & Shane Coen (Founder & CEO, Coen Partners) outlined several fascinating and exciting possibilities for the role nature can play in a new Wilmington.

Have you ever planned a day trip to the beach, just to end up sitting in traffic for the majority of it? Every year in Paris, the city shuts down a highway on the River Seine and imports sand to create a summer sanctuary for their residents. Below is an artists rendition of what a temporary beach could look like on the Christina Riverfront.

screenshot-2016-10-12-09-47-46

Paris, France - August 13, 2014: The public beach on the banks of the River Seine in Paris. Paris is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
Temporary beach on the banks of the River Seine in Paris.

Now a temporary beach may be a long shot for the not took distant future, but there are plenty of financial and community health benefits to adding nature to our everyday lives in Wilmington. Did you know that tree leaves can capture up 50% of particle matter pollution? With the i95 corridor being located through the heart of Wilmington, air pollution is something that is not always thought about, but is important for a healthy, vibrant city.

Not only are there physical health benefits created by nature, but mental benefits as well. A 2015 study by Stanford researchers found that walking in nature yields measurable mental benefits and may reduce depression.

Nature can also bring in tax revenue and attract new businesses. As a case study, Shane Coen referred to the Washington Square Park in Kansas City, MO. The 5.4 acres park previously had no identity, specific user group, or defined program. Coen asked the residents what features they wanted to see in the new design. They came up with; playgrounds, cafes, outdoor music venues, food trucks, fitness classes, and farmers markets.

Washington Sq. Park pre-renovations
Washington Sq. Park pre-renovations

By adding new businesses and a parking garage below:

kc

You may not always notice it, but if you take a look at every major city whether it is Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, or Central Park in Manhattan. Nature is a hub that brings to together people and connects communities. Envisioning a brighter future in Wilmington starts with what us, the people want to see. Post in the comment section below your thoughts and ideas for a brighter Wilmington.

 

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