The Need for Green

Are you a city lover or loather? I think I tend to alternate somewhere between the two extremes … While I’m a city girl through and through (and probably always will be), I still regularly crave the ‘space’ created by spending time wandering and lingering in the outdoor world.

Even when a city is relatively quiet, it’s still a loud place to be.

All that concrete, glass and steel seem to make noise with their dominate presence on the city landscape – buildings tower above us with reflective faces, footpaths are paved in hard and unforgiving fashion, and roads are marked into defined sections of black and white. Everything is stacked, ordered and structured. After a while all those sharp edges and clearly delineated zones can really start to wear a person down. Whenever I feel like that I know it’s time for my feet to go in search of something different …

And so I head towards the green. Even in the busiest of cities there are always pockets of green to be found … whether that be in a garden bed, near a cafe, or in a public park.

I personally like to escape to a nearby outdoor cafe …. It feels like a sanctuary in which to take shelter from the busy street and my overactive mind. The noise of the city is still there of course, but it dulls to something more like a gentle lapping at the shore, rather than the violent crash of a huge oceanic wave.

A few moments spent in more natural surrounds is often all that is needed to make life feel a little more mangeable, and for deadlines to feel a little more achievable. Given that I seem to spend so much of my day trying to block out the unpleasant externalities associated with working in the city, it feels like a wonderful indulgence to open my ears to a different, softer kind of noise.

Do you like green spaces too? Or do you take refuge from the busyness of life somewhere else?


  1. Lucent Imagery

    As a city girl through and through myself, I love urban parks. I strongly believe in the need for more and preservation of the existing ones against development. I love to be where there is lots happening and people around me, but for that little extra personal space and quiet time, nothing beats sitting in a park or strolling through. I love that I can still see city buidings from the park but not be in the middle of the craziness itself. Growing up, I always found a night time view of city lights more inspiring than a country landscape (even though it’s nice to escape to that environment every now and then). Like you, I seek out the leafy cafes.

    The structure of cities with their lines etc do help me though. As a vision impaired person, having defined spaces helps me as I navigate my way through the world as it can help make it more predictable.

    The other thing that I cannot live without in a city is water – not necessarily a beach, but just a body of water like a river or harbour to walk along. And to try tune out those unpleasantries of city living, I focus on the smells from the gardens and the light. Even reflected light off buildings is so beautiful.

    I LOVE this post Tracey. x

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Lucent Imagery – I’m so glad you enjoyed this post … thanks so much for your lovely comment! ๐Ÿ™‚
      I completely agree with you on the need for green space within city environments … I love having a close connection with the city, but I also think that cities need some ‘breathing space’ where people can just take a break from hectic city life.

      I love being able to see the tops of trees from the windows of my building … but there’s nothing quite like actually ‘being amongst it’. I know what you mean about the beauty of city lights … I love that twinkling show … but I do also love a night sky out in the ‘wilderness’ … all those bright stars are quite magical and humbling.

      I also say yes to having a body of water near by … I love the river which runs through Brisbane, I think it’s that sense of movement which is rather soothing.

  2. hila

    I don’t think I could live in total isolation in nature, but I have to admit to really liking sanctuary spaces. I’m a city girl because I’m fascinated by culture, but I don’t think any of us could live without a bit of nature.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Hila – I agree, I don’t think I could ever be completely ‘away from it all’, but I do like being able to find little sanctuaries of green from time to time. Like you, I love the culture which fills cities, but it’s nice to know that we can take a break when things get a little too crazy busy.

      I hope you’ve been well.

  3. Christine

    I think I’m the same as you when it comes to city-green. Love the quiet spacesโ€”can’t imagine not living in the city.
    By the sea, I’m stunned by it’s soothing beauty and power. And still – I live in the city, not by the sea shore. Could I choose, I think I’d take: Down town, near the water, forest right next door, but since I haven’t found such a spot yet, I’d have to say: City. For now ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thank you for this morning mindbender. Made me think of my choices (and un-choices) ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have a lovely day. And say Hi to your City from mine ;o)

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Christine – I’m glad we’re of like minds in relation to the ‘need for green’ … living in a city is something I don’t think I’ll ever change, but I do like to have that ‘space’ to escape to whenever it’s needed.

      I know what you mean about the powers of the sea. I am in complete agreement of it’s ability to calm the soul and soothe the mind … no problem seems that great after some time spent beside the sea. It’s been far too long since I’ve paid a visit to the coastline, but reading your words has made me long for it once more.

      I very much like your ‘wish list’ of locations … mine would be EXACTLY the same! ๐Ÿ™‚
      We shall have to keep looking for that perfect place … but until then, it’s the city for me too!

      I’ve passed on your greetings to my city, so I shall hope you send similar salutations to your own fair city too.
      Take care.

  4. Krystal/Village

    I’m torn between the two right now, actually ๐Ÿ™ We live out in a village and it is beautiful! It’s at the foot of the alps, on a lake and long running paths for me – but we are flat searching in the city because my commute is so long. I will be so sad to leave but I also want to be around where everything is happening. I just don’t know!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Krystal – Oh your location sounds rather lovely too … living at the foot of the alps with access to such beautiful outdoor locations sounds like a wonderful alternative to city life … but I know what you mean about long commutes having a big impact on your life. Cities are where ‘everything’ seems to happen, so I understand how hard it is to make that decision to stay or go.

      My commute to and from work is long too, but I’m not sure whether now is the right time for us to move.
      Best of luck with that difficult decision making!!

  5. Krystal/Village

    PS Have a good day fleur!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Krystal – Haha, your memory is too precise my dear!! (shall I ever live this one down?) Haha! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. urban muser

    city girl here! i am lucky to live in a neighborhood with lots of parks and even a view of the hudson river, so i feel like i can get my taste of solitude and nature when i need it. great post!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Urban Muser – Here, here for city girls!! It’s lovely that you live in a place with access to lots of parks AND a view of a river … that sounds rather idyllic! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I think that balance between city and nature is something we all search for … I know I’d be lost without a glimpse of ‘life’ from my window.


  7. Thea

    I love green spaces! I love to drive away on weekends and find it so relaxing being around nature. PS I’m really looking forward to meeting you soon at our studio. xx

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Thea – I’m glad to hear you’re a green lover too … you always seem to enjoy the most lovely of weekend getaways to somewhere lovely and picturesque! ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m looking forward to meeting you too, it’s been lovely to see the new space coming together.
      Take care.

  8. Katie Yang

    I’m completely the same! I cannot, ever, imagine not living in a city but I need to escape to nature every so often. I’m a fan of the beach myself, I like that you literally have to do nothing (except maybe read a book) by the sea and just let go.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Katie – Cities are the hub of so many different enterprises, aren’t they? I couldn’t ever imagine living too far away from one … I’ve always been a nature lover too, but I need to be close to the action.

      So I’m happiest when I can have the best of both worlds! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Gosh, sitting by the sea and reading a book sounds rather lovely to me … you have me wishing for a summer holiday where I can do just that (even though it’s just turned autumn here). ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Gabrielle Bryden

    Thank God cities do have some green space! To avoid all contact with nature is to live in denial about the true nature of life – the fragility of existance. I love your photos – the various perspectives (the shoes popping out have an WIzard of Oz feel to them ๐Ÿ˜‰ .

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gabrielle – Yes! Thankfully many wonderful city planners have recognised the importance of including green space in their designs … even though I may not feel the need to visit ‘green space’ every day, I think it’s sometimes enough just to know it’s there if I need an ‘escape’. Balance is everything.

      I’m glad you liked my photos … it was fun to take my camera on a little journey towards the green.

  10. Heath

    Those walls look like Java Coast Cafe, one of my favourite retreats for a long lunch both in the city and away from the city at the same time. I was so happy to discover it a couple of years ago when we moved to a nearby office. I really should go there more often.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Heath – Yes indeed, it is Java Coast Cafe … a wonderful ‘outside’ space. I’m not too far from it myself, and I agree it’s a wonderful place to escape to for lunch or a coffee … it almost feels like you’ve taken a breather from the city when you visit (I completely agree with you on that one).

      I love how it’s tucked away, and you wouldn’t really know it was there unless you almost ‘stumbled’ upon it.

  11. Mel

    I love nature. The sea always restores my soul, and I also love being in the mountains – especially by a mountain lake! It’s great to have the amenities of a city nearby, and I’d get lonely living in the middle of nowhere, but I do like to be near the countryside. I’m lucky where I live now – countryside and seaside are both in easy reach ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Mel – Nature is a wonderful thing, where else could we take some time to recharge ourselves and escape from our ‘city’ troubles for a while? I haven’t visited either the sea or the mountains in ages, life has felt like it’s been too busy … but I feel like I should MAKE time for such trips.

      It sounds like you have a wonderful balance of lifestyle options where you live – being near the country and the sea is very nice indeed.

  12. Lisa

    Hello Tracey – Thereโ€™s something about town & country life that I just canโ€™t live without. Maybe itโ€™s the contrast between the two thatโ€™s forever intrinsically interwoven philosophically, and politically via the opposite worlds of dystopia and utopia.

    I happen to come across this poem called โ€œNew York at Sunriseโ€ by Anna Hempstead Branch under Aesthetic Realism, and thought I would share it with you:

    โ€œWhen with her clouds the early dawn illumes
    Our doubtful streets, wistful they grow and mild
    As if a sleeping soul grew happy and smiled,
    The whole dark city radiantly blooms.
    Pale spires lift their hands about the glooms
    Like a resurrection, delicately wild,
    And flushed with slumber like a little child,
    Under a mist, shines forth the innocent Tombs.
    Thus have I seen it from a casement high.
    As unsubstantial as a dream it grows.
    Is this Manhattan, virginal and shy,
    That in a cloud so rapturously glows?
    Ethereal, frail, and like an opening rose,
    I see my city with an enlightened eye.โ€

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hello Lisa – The balance between town and country is a delicate one, but I do believe it is an equilibrium that we all need to find, even if the tipping point differs for each one of us. I think it is that contrast between the two ‘worlds’ that you speak of, which appeals to us in unique and often fascinating ways.

      Thank you so very much for sharing that beautiful poem with me … you always find the very best of words to gift me with, and they often arrive at precisely the time that I need to hear them. Through that poem I hear the city breathe … stunning!

      Take care my dear.
      I wish for you wondrous days filled with beauty and joy,

  13. Sandrine

    Now that I am use to be in my green spot. I tend to like to city sometimes but nature most of the time :)Even though I was born and grew up in the second largest city of France…
    Unfortunately,I may have to put up with more city soon…hopefully I will find my balance?Luckily Australian city are always very green!:)

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Sandrine – It can be hard to find the right balance between nature and city life … sometimes life has other plans for us. I do hope that you’re able to find the right balance though.

      I agree, Australian cities are often lovely and full of green life.

  14. Narnie

    I grew up in the country and for some reason, it’s pretty much turned me off greenery. I love the city – the hustle and bustle and to get away from it all, I sit on the beach. But I do know how it is in a big city. When I’m in London, I visit the Victorian Gardens and just sit for a few minutes. It’s like a converse ad break and sets you up for the jostling again. Lovely post.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Kiersty – It’s funny how our childhoods can often make us prefer the opposite … I think something similar happened with me and food I used to have to eat as a child – I pretty much eat the exact opposite these days.

      I love that hustle and bustle of the city too, and I agree the beach is a wonderful place to ‘get away’ (that ocean is such a calming influence). Now London would be a serious ‘city’ … I could well imagine the need for green space in such a place.

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