I must say that I am a big fan of urban greenery. One of the things that I miss terribly whilst living in India is the lack of green spaces within cities. It does the getaway to the wilderness all the more meaningful but I think all cities should have a space for people to walk around in and enjoy greenery even if it is in the form of a small park with grass and a bunch of trees.
Most western cities have this concept down-pat with excellent parks sometimes several acres in size and almost always incorporating water-bodies. These urban ecosystems play an important role in preservation of those species that have evolved along-side humans like foxes, several species of birds, butterflies and other insects, as well as various kinds of plants and trees. Apart from this, these open spaces create a sense of equilibrium to the city and offer important aspects of recreation in the form of walking, running and biking trails.
Many cities take this concept further and incorporate within these parks an area for dogs and their owners. An enclosed area or a dog park where dogs can run around off-leash and 'socialize' with other canines. Whilst in Chicago, we took my friend's dog for one such jaunt and a merry time was had indeed.
It is curious to observe dogs off-leash and as an ardent dog person myself, it was fascinating to watch dog-dog interaction up-close. What was even more surprising, contrary to common belief is that dogs hardly ever fight once a certain hierarchy has been established. Some bigger parks also permit their owners to run around with their dog and play with them off-leash and this is not only great exercise for you but also a very good bonding ritual with your pet.
I believe human-animal interaction is very important not only to understand the environment better but also to reinforce our instinctual connection with Nature. Animals never lose this connection no matter whether they are wild or domesticated and through them we can regain the lost world of the vast wilderness.
Photo: Akhila Vijayaraghavan ©