Urbanization is a not a new reality, but in recent years its pace has increased substantially. For the first time in human history, the world’s population now has more people living in urban areas than rural areas. By 2030, the United Nations projects that this will likely shift even further where up to 60% of the world’s population could be living in urban areas. As this trend continues, plants will continue to play an essential role in the success, comfort, health, and social well-being of millions of people.
The many benefits of perennial grasses in urban centers have been well-documented with regard to producing fresh oxygen, capturing rainfall, reducing stormflow and erosion, protecting watersheds, filtering pollutants, and more! All of this while they also provide families and pets an outdoor space to enjoy. As urban and suburban areas continue to grow, city planners and inhabitants will seek, and find, even more value in maintaining urban green spaces, including lawns. A recently emerging research area called “Ecosystem Services” has begun to establish the value that green spaces play in urban and suburban life. The Lawn Institute wants to be a part of that story, and for over 75 years has funded research and education on the value of natural grass lawns.
“Various land-use scenarios for identifying ecosystem services in urban and suburban development” Graphic provided courtesy of The Natural Capital Project, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota.