New Generation of Health Parks to Bring Well-being to All
In a groundbreaking initiative, the White Paper of Green is promoting the creation of Health Parks aimed at improving the well-being of various segments of society. This innovative project, driven by the scientific technical committee of Kèpos White Book of Green Aps, has brought together a diverse group of professionals, including engineers, architects, doctors, psychologists, landscape architects, agronomists, and entrepreneurs. Their goal is to provide a high level of psycho-physical well-being to the elderly, families with children and pets, people with disabilities, and athletes.
To ensure accessibility and inclusivity, these parks will be urban infrastructures that are easily accessible without any obstacles at their entrance or in their pathways. The materials used in constructing the parks will be chosen carefully so that they do not become obstacles themselves when worn out. The parks will be designed to be replicated on a national scale, with large spaces for thought, meditation, and silence, and with a minimum size of two hectares to promote relaxation and well-being for all. The parks will be characterized by spaciousness, silence, pleasant lighting, and skillful use of colors in their elements, games, and furnishings.
The Kèpos Scientific Technical Committee has also outlined several other requirements for Health Parks. One such requirement is reachability in a reasonable time, as parks that are too far away can negatively impact physical and mental well-being. Another requirement is “all-round safety,” which encompasses chemical and environmental safety, safety against accidents, and social security. Visitors should feel safe and protected when entering a park. Furthermore, a Health Park should be completely inclusive and accessible to people of all ages and abilities, encouraging free encounters between individuals and providing opportunities for recreation, sports, meetings, and cultural activities.
Key to the concept of a Health Park is the presence of a Plastic Free area with hypoallergenic trees and grasses, accessible spaces for dogs, healthy soils, and a strict ban on smoking and the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Maintenance, or “care,” is also crucial, and should be carried out by involving fragile individuals through third sector organizations present in the area, aligning the principles of work and well-being. Effective communication before and after interventions is necessary to create awareness among citizens about the opportunities and philosophy behind Health Parks.
To ensure the success of this initiative, the installation of in/out signs and an effective dissemination system through social networks, press conferences, conventions, and monitoring campaigns are vital. Public administrations must recognize and embrace the benefits of Health Parks, and there should be a mutual consent between the administrations and their fellow citizens. To encourage public administrations to adopt these principles, four gradual reward levels are proposed by Plastic Free onlus to demonstrate the administration’s attention to its citizens, namely Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels based on the extent of implementation.
While the first pilot cases of Health Parks represent a cultural revolution in the approach to city parks, the next step is to recalibrate the certification criteria and incorporate them into urban planning regulations. This will require the cooperation of various stakeholders, including municipalities, regions, and the legislative bodies responsible for territorial governance. By providing dedicated funding lines for the creation of Health Parks, regional authorities can actively support municipal administrations in this cultural revolution.
Ultimately, the creation of Health Parks represents a new way of thinking about public green spaces, combining collective well-being with a multidisciplinary approach. The White Paper of Green and Kèpos are leading the way in promoting a healthier and more inclusive environment for all citizens.