Creating a Sense of Community Through Green Areas


Greenpoint Park in Cape Town is an example of an inclusive green area with shaded spaces and benches

The innate need to belong is fulfilled, many times, by open spaces. Even though most public areas are owned by the government and not a specific person, they attract many people by giving them a sense of belonging to a place where they can be themselves and feel comfortable in a judgment-free zone. Among the different types of public spaces, the ones most commonly chosen are city parks and green areas in general. These places tend to attract many people because of the opportunities they provide, often non-existent entrance fee, and natural ambiance.

These green areas are very important for the wellness of the people who live in its surroundings. Having a free, nearby green space usually encourages people to go outside their houses. Because of that, people tend to see and interact more with other people from the surrounding community (Prow, 2015). These spaces are crucial to create and maintain a sense of community because, as a meeting spot, they facilitate social interactions and serve as a place where members can develop social ties that bond the community together and model a healthy behaviour (Phillips, Dolesh & Vinluan, 2015).

A green area can also be very beneficial to those who live on the streets. Because they do not own a space to call their own, the street population often feels as if they are invisible and disconnected from the surrounding community (Kenney, 2014). Places such as parks and green regions have a high potential of improving their lives because, by creating a space open to the whole community, both the street population and the people around them would have a place to feel comfortable in without judgement. These spaces would also provide a place for meetings and the opportunity of creating social interactions between everyone in the area, regardless of their social status.

By building these interactions and a sense of community, the street people would no longer feel invisible and would feel as if they belonged somewhere, improving their lives as a whole (Manzo, 2006). These social bonds could also make the surrounding population stop seeing the street people as a problem that needs to be fixed. It could make them start looking at the individuals who live on the streets as other humans, equal to them, that unfortunately have more difficult living conditions. Overall, the green areas have a high potential of bringing the community together, creating and strengthening bonds among different people, which would be very beneficial for all in both social, physical and mental aspects.




Kenney, K. (2014). The Hidden Story of Homelessness (p. 26). New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
Manzo, L. (2006). Finding Common Ground: The Importance of Place Attachment to Community Participation and Planning. Journal Of Planning Literature, 20(4), 335-350.
Phillips, M., Dolesh, R., & Vinluan, M. (2015). Top 10 Reasons Parks Are Important. Retrieved from
Prow, T. (2015). Power of Trees, Media, Landscape and Human Health Laboratory, University of Illinois. Retrieved from
Taylor, A., & Kuo, F. (2005). Trees, Green Space, and Human Well-being. Retrieved  from