preventing Nature Deficit Disorder
Richard Louv characterized disconnection from nature as Nature Deficiency Disorder. In his book The Last Child in the Woods he argues that exposure to natural materials and spaces boosts imagination and creativity and helps with problems such as attention deficit disorder and childhood obesity.
Past generations of city children wandered the streets, played in vacant blocks and felt free and unafraid. Now many parents have fears about stranger danger, and local councils have fears about litigation if play equipment does not meet stringent safety standards.
Yet there are signs that things are changing for the better. Community gardens are recognized as a good thing and planners and the public are starting to think about how to plan public natural spaces that allow for interactivity, such as beds for growing and harvesting flowers and vegetables.
People are starting to think up creative ways to incorporate natural spaces in cities, such as rooftop gardens. These have the advantage of cooling the building below, as well as resolving the problem of lack of space.
Yet many people who are able to live on decent sized blocks of land still seem to choose to cover their land with large mansions and a minute token garden. It’s as if they see a garden as an unproductive waste of space. I hope they hear about Nature Deficiency Disorder and change their ways.