From Rural to Urban

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 11:58 PM

I grew up in a rural Oregon city, just outside of Corvallis. Everyone had gardens and trees. My parents even had an orchard they planted when we moved there, and multiple pines scattered around the property. I was always at my happiest and most comfortable when I was outside. It was green everyone someone looked. Even the first college I went to was green. But when I knew I was moving to Portland, I anticipated nothing but city blocks, smog, and angry pedestrians.



It was more than shocking to see a park right outside my apartment complex, and the greenery wasn't just a few patches of grass. The trees continued on as far as I could see from the apartment. I'd thought moving to an apartment in a big city would have wrecked havoc on my mental state, but the grass and trees outside that reminded me of home seemed to calm me. And I'm not the only one- a 2001 article from the American Psychological Association found that nature really is good for us, both mentally and physically. It's become such a big deal that there's an entire group of people with the title 'environmental psychologists'. An interview with Raymond De Young sheds some light on the field. And it's not only for the rural people. People from urban areas have improved mental health that's associated with living closer to greener areas. 

Portland State University is built in one of the greenest spaces in downtown Portland, with the Park Blocks running right through the middle of campus. On a nice day during later parts of terms, a person can walk through the blocks and see mass amounts of students soaking up some sun while getting some studying done. Many of these students, without knowing it, are helping their extremely stressed brains.

Urban naturalization doesn't only do good for the Earth- it also does good for the people that live there.

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