Saturday, 16 March 2013

Green corridors - a city's link to the surrounding nature

As the current trend of urbanization leads into a situation where the moving flow concentrates on bigger cities, the pressure of building on new sites becomes inevitable. Some cities were originally designed so that natural corridors were left for splitting the city into different sections by leaving e.g. long forested corridors in between. These so called "green corridors" are offering a possibility to be used for recreational purposes by the citizens. One example of these cities is the capital of Finland, Helsinki, where a few green corridors have existed, but they've been diminished due to construction of new buildings in the latest decades. These green corridors are formed by natural-like forests even-though there are some small man-made roads for recreational purposes like jogging, cross-country skiing etc. Nowadays, there are only two larger and uniform corridors left, or at least what I concern significant. Well, there is a third one as well (the easternmost) that doesn't really form a corridor but it's still a major area, even-though it was recently influenced by the new harbour area of Vuosaari. (highlighted on the following map)

[The map was created by using publicly available data produced by  National Land Survey of Finland.]

For a winter sports person, the green corridors offer great possibilities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The Central Park forms a long link of cross-country skiing tracks through out up to it's northernmost part, where the most popular skiing facilities are located. Snowshoeing can be done almost everywhere, or at least when there's enough snow for relevant use of snowshoes.

On a nice sunny day, it's awesome to utilize the opportunity to head outside into a green corridor from your doorstep. I did a short cruise using snowshoes, as I've been cross-country skiing in Lapland for six days during last week. The use of a HR-belt indicated that snowshoeing is a pretty good way for doing a recovery exercise, if you don't perform any significant spurts. At the same time, I was further testing my new Devold Multisport baselayer merino shirt that I found from a bargain basket at a Lappish sport shop. I'll have to admit that it's pretty awesome what comes to its performance compared to synthetic materials. Previously, I've sometimes used another merino shirt, which is more like a base/midlayer shirt, and it has been so awesome that I really wanted to give a go for another one for baselayer usage.

Finally, it's important to remember that Helsinki is a small capital compared to the big cities around the world. All in all, I would still claim that it would be important to implement this kind of infrastructural design to keep people in contact with nature, as urbanization is leading people away from it that scares me the most.  There are built parks in many cities but natural-like habitats could be considered more important.

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