The Benefits of Urban Greenspaces

At Optima, we approach every project as an opportunity to explore the best possible ways to create harmony between the built and natural environments to allow our residents to enjoy a wealth of benefits that contribute to a healthier, more sustainable environment.

We understand that greenspaces; parks, gardens, conservatories, roof gardens and residential greenery are crucial to the vitality of urban spaces and the communities where they are found. Population density of urban areas is increasing swiftly. By 2050, it is estimated that 68% of the global population will live in cities. According to the WHO, urban greenspaces promote mental and physical health through the promotion of physical activity, mutual understanding, and mitigating exposure to air and noise pollution as well as excessive heat. 

In the summer, the heat generated by human activity, transport, and industry creates an increased need for energy consumption to cool spaces. Green areas have the ability to absorb that heat and pollution. They also allow urban dwellers to stretch their legs and be outside, improving cardiovascular health and relieving stress. Each space also promotes social cohesion, the coming together of people who would usually not interact with each other due to the individualistic nature of urban living.

Landscaping used to create privacy at Optima Signature
Landscaping used to create privacy at Optima Signature

At Optima we recognize the tremendous advantages greenspaces provide. In Chicago, Optima Signature’s inviting plaza filled with lush landscaping and 1.5 acres of amenity space encourages residents to spend time outdoors. Gardens, landscaped fire pits, swimming pools, and outdoor entertainment all radiate the feeling of an oasis within the larger urban environment.

Landscaped Courtyard at Optima Kierland Apartments
Landscaped Courtyard at Optima Kierland Apartments

Optima Kierland Center embraces its surrounding beauty and builds off of it. Lush greenery fills the more than 7.5 acres of open space connecting Optima Kierland’s buildings in a park-like setting. Similarly, Optima Sonoran Village utilizes more than half of its 10-acre property to house stunning landscaping, sculpture, and pedestrian paths while mitigating the desert’s harsh climate. We utilize rooftop gardens and our signature vertical landscaping at Optima Sonoran Village, Optima Kierland Apartments, and will be bringing it to Chicago at Optima Verdana, to create an oasis inspired by its surroundings that contribute to the greater environment. This type of green space brings both beauty and positive contributions to their communities. 

Greenspaces make urban living refreshing, enjoyable and social. And as our cities become more and more dense, urban greenspaces become a crucial part of the ecosystem — and of our enhanced quality of life.

The Legacy of Cornelia Oberlander

This spring, the design world lost a woman of fortitude, ingenuity and groundbreaking creativity. Cornelia Oberlander, a Canadian landscape architect, passed away just before her 100th birthday due to complications from COVID-19. Although her passing is mourned, Oberlander left behind an incredible and inspiring life story and legacy.

Cornelia Oberlander was born into a Jewish family in Germany in June of 1921. As the Nazi party rose to power, her family faced increasing dangers and chose to leave the country two weeks after Kristallnacht. Oberlander was eighteen by the time they emigrated to the United States in 1939, and there she was able to nurture her interests in the power of plants to heal. Her mother was a horticulturist who wrote gardening books for children and nurtured Oberlander’s appreciation for nature. Inspired by the landscaping and public spaces in Germany, she was determined to design parks from a young age. 

Oberlander received a BA from Smith College and was among the first class of women to study at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, founded by Walter Gropius, a leader of the Bauhaus movement. Armed with a degree in landscape architecture, Oberlander was on a mission to improve lives with public spaces nourished by nature. And indeed she did; she started out working in Philadelphia, where her initiatives in public housing included places for children and green space. After moving to Canada, she advocated for communities and designed over 70 urban playgrounds. Her notable projects included the Children’s Creative Center at Montreal’s Expo ’67, Vancouver General Hospital Burn Unit Garden and the landscape design at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, Vancouver (photo below). Over her lifetime, Oberlander was honored with Order of British Columbia, the Order of Canada and Vancouver Freedom of the City Award, amongst many other accolades.

The grounds and reflecting pool of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, designed by Cornelia Oberlander / Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia
The grounds and reflecting pool of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, designed by Cornelia Oberlander / Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia

Cornelia Oberlander’s work will impact landscape architects, urban designers and creative minds all over the world for years to come. Her beliefs in the ability of design to bring about social change and healing are ones we as creatives should all hold in high regard, as we build systems and buildings that elevate the human experience.

person name goes here

Maintenance Supervisor

Glencoe, IL

    Acceptable file types: *.pdf | *.txt | *.doc, max-size: 2Mb