“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.”
Pedro Calderon de la Barca
(Spanish poet and playwright, 1600-1681)
There is something about the color green
Imagine you are standing on the forest floor, surrounded by beautiful trees blowing in the wind and the air smells wonderfully light and refreshing. You look around and see the different shades of green; dark greens on the coniferous trees and lighter ones on the trees and bushes bearing leaves. The floor is covered in moss, in an even lighter shade of green. Sound good? Already relaxed?
Green is good for our health
Surrounded by green(s) (most) people feel relaxed and at peace and we tend to calm down and feel very “in the moment”. From a color psychology perspective green is associated with harmony, balance and refreshment. At its best, green can of course be found in nature.
Our minds immediately wind down and a certain kind of relief sets in as soon as we perceive a green environment. A recently conducted study even indicates scientific proof that surrounding yourself with greens, especially the natural kind, shows long-term benefits concerning our mental health. “After analysing data that followed people over a five year period, research has found that moving to a greener area not only improves people’s mental health, but that the effect continues long after they have moved.” As the study also suggests, increasing green spaces in cities could have positive effects on public health.
An example of how future cities can handle urban densification and the lack of green space is the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) a pair of residential towers in the Porta Nuova district of Milan in Italy. In collaboration with botanists and horticulturalists the two tower houses were built to host trees between three and six meters, which produce oxygen and decrease smog.
Although Vienna does not offer green towers such as the amazing Bosco Verticale, it was voted one of the most livable cities in the world (for the seventh time in a row, people!), not least because of the many green spaces it offers. More than half of Vienna’s metropolitan area is made up of green spaces with more than 280 imperial parks and gardens. Check out the “green Vienna” here, and maybe find some “greenspiration”, rediscover some old favorites or try out some new “greenery”.
Build your own green environment
As already mentioned, not only public health but also your personal health can be effected by the choices you make while building your own surroundings. Allowing some more green into your life, will certainly elevate its quality. And it can start with small changes. Since the ’80s, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America have studied houseplants as a way to purify the air in space facilities (they even gave out a list of air-filtering plants). And what works in space also works for your home here on earth.
Even something as small as a house plant will improve the air you breath within your own four walls and give your mind a reason to relax. How about some potted plants? Why not start small and grow some kitchen herbs or cultivate some seedlings on your window ledge. They will not only be nice to look at but also add something green to your diet. (Hello, green smoothies!)
Urban gardening – a little green for everyone
If you do not have your own green space, balcony, or Schrebergarten, you can also engage in some urban gardening in Vienna. There are numerous public places where you can enjoy green surroundings and even get you hands “green” trying out some gardening by yourself. You can also get in touch with some Guerilla Gardeners in Vienna if you are more of the adventurous type! (Feel free to post your pictures of your green adventures here!) And if you are determined to build your own greenhouse, get inspired by this TED talk by Caleb Harper, who decided to do so himself at the CityFarm at the MIT Media Lab.
Looking for some green
If you feel your concentration level decrease (even while reading this post), a little bit of green might help. In an ideal world, one could simply look out of the window and enjoy some green. But since this also works with pictures, just looking at photo also helps boost your creativity as well as your concentration. Also a green piece of paper or a wall, if you have access to one, will work magic. Why don`t you try it out yourself?
So, if a little bit of green goes a long way, why don´t you start with choosing your favorite one: