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Also important, tree canopies and urban green spaces have shown a significant cooling effect in cities, which reduces energy demands for air conditioning and lowers local emissions.Economic benefits range from reduced flood damage costs (due to better flood protection) to lower water treatment costs to healthier fisheries, better recreational opportunities, and increased tourism and economic development.Even smaller-scale projects, like rain gardens or green roofs, can help reduce the impacts of local flooding events while also providing benefits like improved community appeal and habitat for birds and butterflies or pollinating bees.Traditional structures designed to control floodwaters or storm surges are usually built on beaches, marshes or wetlands, where they destroy valuable wildlife habitat.
But the true return on investment for nature-based solutions is realized when the other, multiple benefits they provide are considered.
Strong community relationships increase the likelihood that individuals will work together to achieve common goals, exchange information, and maintain informal social controls, which leads to cleaner and safer public spaces, less crime, and can have a positive impact on public health.
Recent studies demonstrate that green spaces in urban areas may actually decrease violent and property crimes in neighborhoods.
For example, wetlands, floodplains, forests, prairies and marshes improve water quality by filtering pollutants and sediment from water.
Improved water quality can boost tourism and recreation or reduce costs at water treatment facilities.