One more ingredient!

My recent post inspired by being in Milan was about some fundamental truths that underpin liveable cities. I realised after spending another day there that I missed one ingredient that has been integrated so well into European cities – nature. Not nature as in the wild blue yonder, but as in the ever present trees, green spaces large and small, and DOGS!

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There is much research around about the physical and mental health benefits about being able to experience nature: try googling “health benefits of nature” – even Oprah is onto it! And somewhere along the line, the city builders who laid out the old cities like Milan must have got that intuitively. They provided large parks like Sempione and Giardini Indro Montanelli, endless small pizzas, and the linear green space in the middle of Via Giovanni Battista Morgagni where we stayed, full of people riding bikes, playing bocce or in playgrounds, walking dogs or just enjoying each others company in the communal space.

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And Europe has always understood the health benefits of pets. Here, dogs and apartments to hand in hand. There is much research world wide that confirms this – see here for example. Australia has a lot to learn about the desirability of allowing people to own dogs in units. With an ageing population and increasing proportions of single person households, this is a significant community well being benefit. It has always been part of life in Europe.

So I’d like to add another ingredient to the mix of the timeless truths in building liveable cities: the integration of nature:

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