As Iowa City becomes more populous, it needs to protect its green spaces, these provide a public space where people can enjoy nature or participate in activities such as outdoor games or eating local food.
Cities like New York City have had problems in the past protecting their green spaces — it’s one of the reasons they call it the urban jungle. Iowa City shouldn’t be just a sea of gray. The city and the surrounding areas have nice green spaces that should be protected.
Iowa City experienced a 10.5 percent growth in its population over the past decade, and some see this growth as an opportunity to build housing on open green space.
One currently contested piece of land is the old University of Iowa marching band field. The UI wants to develop the green space to add more housing. This plan involves using the land that Parklawn Residence Hall currently inhabits.
Manville Heights residents spoke against the move to develop the area because they enjoy the space for community use and its scenery.
The UI should keep the land as a green space and consider that a form of utilization of the land.
Studies show that nature is linked to decreasing mental illnesses and depression. Being a university student can be extremely stressful at times, and green spaces can help students cope.
The UI is already taking steps to protect green spaces on campus by better using the void of where Seashore Hall used to be. Its plan is to have classes or other events outside on the green space, and to use nearby food trucks. This seems to be one of the best ways to keep the land a green space, as it allows everyone to participate in various activities, and for businesses to make money.
Iowa City needs to find ways to both provide the necessities for its growing population and protect its green spaces — to keep a balance between calming nature and day-to-day needs like housing.
If more people could stand up for protecting nature in their city, groups like the state Board of Regents would be pressured into understanding how important it is. Protecting greenery does require lots of money, or even lots of time — it just needs someone to protect it from getting built on.
If Iowa City is going to protect its land, it needs to know how to use it, without development or buildings. People need to enjoy nature without the overabundance of grey around them. The green spaces are meant to increase well-being.
UI students could use the land to take a load off of their stressful classes. It would also allow student groups to play games and meet for other activities outside.
Both residents of Iowa City and UI students benefit from having green spaces, and we need to ensure that their green spaces are protected.
Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.