How can good urban planning promote mental health? , Opinion

Two key priorities for Utah currently and over the long term include smart urban planning and addressing growing mental wellness needs. How can these two be addressed in a way that benefits the quality of life for all Utahns?

Some cities have done exactly that and are notable for leadership that can be emulated in other parts of the state.

First, like many Utahns I struggle with managing my anxiety. I’ve consulted with licensed medical professionals about this since I was a teenager, and I try to do things that enhance my well-being, like getting enough sleep and nurturing meaningful relationships with my family. Doing.

But there is another habit that is my secret weapon. Something that I deal with on a daily basis in a variety of settings that makes a big difference in the form of medicine or therapy. That strategy is exercise, something that has been adapted by thoughtful city leaders and community groups.

South Provo Neighborhoods

Around 11 a.m. each day, I lace up my trainers and walk my lunch through South Provo, just below Brigham Young University’s campus.

With most of the Wasatch Front covered by similar-looking subdivisions, I am grateful for the neighborhoods and community organizations that have created a unique identity for each of the various historic districts on the city grid.

There are traditional houses from the early 20th century with sweeping porches, sometimes flanked by flags declaring allegiance to a particular university or cause, not to mention the modern apartment complexes covered in glass and steel that surround historic properties. provide a nice contrast to

My favorite has to be the Messer neighborhood near Provo’s City-County Government Complex. I am grateful to the individual landlords who have taken pride in their property and provided diversity for flaneurs (walkers) like me to admire.

Spanish Fork River Trail

I live in south Utah County, so on the weekends I visit the Spanish Fork River Trail which I consider my “ribbon of life”.

These avenues spread along the Wasatch Front are a respite from chaotic development, preserved with prudent city management as well as visionary developers who see the wisdom of private-public partnerships that preserve “wellness spaces” in the urban hubbub . with us for a long time in the future.

The Spanish Fork River Trail is quite remarkable. Like Camille Pissarro capturing Paris at different times of the year, I’ve watched the same landscapes transform themselves into different kinds of beauty—a tonic for the sick soul.

In the right sunlight during fall, the river sometimes appears claret red with pink streaks in the sky as it runs toward Utah Lake. In winter the dry reeds along the irrigation canals provide a wind barrier along particularly zigzag sections of the route exposed to the elements.

In other places, trees lean over the trail, blocking pedestrians, runners, cyclists (and the occasional skateboarder) from snow, rain, and the glare of an August sun.

To some the existence of such a refuge may be surprising, given the explosive growth Spanish Fork has experienced.

First, when displacing much of the open space along the I-15 corridor, a statue of a farmer was seen in the Canyon Creek Shopping Center.

However, when I consider how dedicated the city of Spanish Fork has been to maintaining a growing web of trails throughout the city, including the Spanish Fork River Trail, I can’t help but see the planners I give my hat to those who recognized life-transformation. Implications of wellness among the continuing growth of Utah.

I started trail running in 2014. I gradually increased my running from two miles to the point where I prepared to walk the St. George Marathon in 2018. That achievement, not to mention the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the city’s “ribbon of wellness,” has changed my life for the better.

I’m excited to see communities and developers (who often need to incorporate quality of life elements into their projects, such as at Daybreak) working together to create “places of wellness” throughout the Wasatch Front. Can

Those intentional efforts add beauty to the eye, highlight connections between nature and peace, and create on a daily basis the joy that is good about our state.

Evan Ward is Associate Professor of History at Brigham Young University, where he teaches courses on World History.

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