Have you ever used the city parks here in Enschede? Have you ever enjoyed a nice long stroll through Volkspark or wandered through some of the University’s own carefully manicured gardens? If the answer is yes, then you were fortunate enough to use some of the finest crafted UGS (Urban Green Space) around, according to ITC graduate Tahani Elbondira.
UGS is a hot button issue right now for urban developers, politicians, city and parks planners and many governments around the world. This is due to the fact that cities populations all over the globe are expected to carry around 60% to 70% of the worlds total population by 2030. This varies from country to country, but you get the idea, Urban Green Space is crucial.
Tahani Elbondira, a recent graduate from UT (faculty ITC), is being noticed for her research on UGS, and the implications it could have all around this region and many others that use her research is important.
‘What triggered my interest as a student coming from a country where you can hardly see any green space around in a city, was the amount of high quality green space in Enschede. I knew then that I wanted to touch on this aspect in my research, and hoped to learn about and embrace such an urban green culture to take back home.’
Tahani’s research is titled Identifying factors that influence tertiary students’ preferences, choices, perceptions and use of urban parks in Enschede, and is a fascinating read about what exactly does attract or repel a person from going to and using a park or UGS. She also delves into detail about why UGS’s are ‘essential in enhancing the quality of life and well-being for the city dwellers by providing places for social interactions, recreation, rest and relaxation in addition to their health and psychological benefits to urban residents’. While all of these benefits are well documented, the mass urban sprawl and mounting financial crisis are hitting city and urban planners hard.
‘What is most relevant is that parks are viewed through the eyes of a student and also a student from outside the Netherlands. The idea that looks in such a way to parks is new and refreshing. Especially in times of budget cuts on the green areas. I believe that the quality of the environment in the near future an important factor for the increasingly scarce knowledge’, says Rolf Oldejans (Gemeente Enschede) about Tahani’s research.
So, if you haven’t yet made use of this city’s fine Urban Green Space, you probably should scope out a park near you. Check out the planning, see how the park feels to you, and think on the importance spaces like these have with ever increasing populations. That’s something to take a walk for.