With an absence of shade and an accumulation of buildings, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington region has become the third-fastest growing urban heat island in the U.S. As part of an effort to bring down temperatures, increase shade and improve air quality, trees are being planted across the region. Over the next few months, 1,000 trees will be planted, with an emphasis on schools and their surrounding areas.
In Paris, Project Oasis, a plan to convert the city’s 800 schools into green spaces by 2040, aims to provide respite in periods of extreme heat, and perhaps even bring down temperatures across the city, which reserves less than 10% of space to parks and gardens. But the project’s ultimate goal to open up these newly built green spaces to the general public may prove to be controversial.
The most comprehensive assessment of child and youth physical activity in Canada indicates that physical activity can improve kids’ brain health by boosting both cognitive ability and mental wellness. The research suggests that an active lifestyle can help release a child’s potential in several ways including performance in the classroom, problem solving skills and overall focus.
A new French law will ban students from using smartphones on school grounds — in an effort to combat cell phone addiction and encourage children to read and play outside. Beginning in September, the law will prohibit students — aged 3 to 15 — from using smartphones on school grounds.
Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo is leading a first-of-its-kind effort to study urban wildlife. The zoo announced last week a partnership between the zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute, the city of Edmonton and University of Alberta.Through the program, scientists gather and analyze data in hopes of helping animals thrive by mitigating existing or potential conflicts between humans and wildlife.
A nationwide report in the United Kingdom has found that the average British citizen will spend 53 years of their adult life inside and just ten years outside. Nearly half of Brits polled said they never have the time or opportunity to venture outside and 15 percent complained they don’t have anywhere picturesque nearby that they can visit.
With the second-highest number of annual pollution-related fatalities in the world, China is looking to forest cities to reduce pollution and CO2 in its largest cities. The Liuzhou Forest City will have a large collection of vertical forest buildings that should absorb 10,000 tons of CO2 and 57 tons of other pollutants while creating 900 tons of oxygen annually. Residents and businesses will be moving into the development’s 70 foliage-covered buildings in about two years.
Elevated screen time is associated with sedentary behavior leading to overweight and obesity in children and adolescents, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association or AHA. The AHA experts found that overall screen time seems to be increasing as portable devices are allowing for more access.
Considering the child’s perspectives when planning urban areas was the focus of the recent Cities on the Rise event held in the Irish city of Cork. The event, hosted by the nonprofit Academy of Urbanism, highlighted how Cork and other similar mid-level non-capital cities across Europe are being transformed by planning around the needs of children in cities. Event organizers emphasized that the amount of time children spend playing outdoors, their ability to get around independently, and their level of contact with nature are strong indicators of how a city is performing.