Ted Craig Regional Park 2

Ted Craig Regional Park provides local residents with large open space for picnicking, bird watching, recreational sports, walking and biking. (Kassandra Vasquez / Daily Titan)

The city of Fullerton ranked number 19 of 121 cities in the state for the percentage of inhabitants that live within a 10-minute walk of a public green area, according to the Green City Index, a recent study done by Interiorbeat.

According to the index, 14.92% of Fullerton’s 22.37 square miles is green space. About 1.38% of the city’s population live in close proximity to a public green space, which is the equivalent of 1,925 people out of Fullerton’s total 2021 population of around 137,350.

The index also states that over the last ten years, there was a 2% increase for inhabitants living within a 10-minute walk of a public green space, which includes parks, gardens, street trees and any land covered — partially or completely — with grass, trees, shrubs or vegetation of any kind.

“Fullerton has so much amazing green space and trails. I mean, even just the partnership with the Arboretum. I mean, there's the Fullerton loop. There are Coyote Hills. There's just so much green space,” said Antonia Castro-Graham, chief operating officer of the Orange County power authority. “Fullerton is able to capitalize on not only being the education city, but being a tree city, and really embracing that green space.”

She said that green space is incredibly important to an urban community because those areas help reduce the heat island effect. Heat islands are urbanized areas that experience higher temperatures than outlying areas.

“The more green buildings you have, in the sense that there's greenery on them, or white roofs, or just trees and open space, helps to reduce that temperature,” she added.

Ted Craig Regional Park

Ted Craig Regional Park exhibits a large lake to fish and watch the visiting waterfowl. (Kassandra Vasquez / Daily Titan)

 

Frequent Ted Craig Regional Park visitor Lyn Farman said she notices the impact that green space has in the local community. Growing up in Fullerton, Farman said she always enjoyed going to green spaces that the city offers its inhabitants. She added that going for walks in Craig park helps her overall health and well-being.

“Yesterday, I was feeling like a, you know, like a soggy sponge, and today is like, I feel alive,” she said.

Farman added that green spaces positively impact the community by improving air quality and cooling air temperatures, even if people do not recognize the changes.

The reduced temperatures directly impact the energy use of an urban area. Lower temperatures mean that residents and companies reduce energy usage for air conditioning during the hotter months of the year.

Cal State Fullerton sustainability analyst Stephanie Del Rosario said that CSUF has planted 20 oak trees around the campus, which contributes to the urban forest in Fullerton that benefits the local community.

“There’s seven principles of a sustainable city, and one of those principles is to have a prominent place for nature and areas that people can recreate,” Castro-Graham said.

She added that even just small bits of green space throughout a city can promote physical and mental health, as well as reduce morbidity.

“People need to have all these needs met, and one of these needs is the ability to recreate and to be healthy, and having green spaces that are close to you, is a benefit.” Castro-Graham said.

She added that access to green space reduces comorbidities like asthma.

The World Health Organization study supports the idea that public green spaces promote improved health and well-being, because physical activity can improve cardiovascular health, neurocognitive development and mental health.

Castro-Graham said green spaces serve more purpose than just helping with environmental issues and health improvement.

“Greenspace not only helps to cool down communities, but make them nicer looking,” she said.

Trees and vegetation lower the surface and air temperature, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The shade and evapotranspiration, evaporation from land surfaces and transpiration from plants, cool peak temperatures by 2-9 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fullerton resident Travis Cory said he walks to the park by his residence with his family on a regular basis, because green spaces provide an opportunity to socialize.

“I think that as creatures, we're social creatures. And I think green space creates opportunities to be together and open,” Cory said.

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