From lakes to bays, we need blue spaces for our mental health

Rethinking our urban fabric has floated in my thoughts since the pandemic began; there is so much we could do with what already exists in our cities. I cannot emphasise enough how my being in London’s parks for most of 2020 brought me sanity to cope with so much stresses during that year — research, international travel, and, well, simply managing to all the changes. I could only wish I had access to blues and greens while I’m staying in Manila now.

In this essay, fellow Chevening alumnus Julze Alejandre and I share our thoughts about blue spaces, mental health, and COVID-19. As always, thank you to CNN Philippines Life for publishing our writing.

The conflicting nature and tradeoffs of planning: The case of the flooded trail

Walking the streets–or Northampton’s case, its trails–is when a person learns about the environment. We took a pre-lunch walk with Joe along the Smith College Trail, which runs right beside the Mill River.

We were also left with a few lessons on the reality of what planning work entails because of an eroded part of the trail. This is a micro-level example of something that planners have to deal with, but it’s a fascinating case for me all the same, because of the public-private interplay on land. It was also a good case for my buddy Fai, who is an environmental engineer working on phytoremediation. Let’s take a closer look.


About the trail

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The red line shows the entirety of the Smith College trail. (Take note of the terrain elevations.)

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