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Statistics Show an Alarming Rate of Decline in Green Spaces in African Urban Areas

Urban green spaces like parks with lawns and trees have well-known benefits for people who live in cities. They help improve air quality, manage floods, reduce noise and keep temperatures down. The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals recognise the role of green spaces in creating healthy and sustainable urban life. Africa accounts for about 62% of the estimated one billion slum residents in the world. Also, people in the informal sector contribute more than 80% to Africa’s urban economy, making their participation in urban development essential. But city planning practices in many African countries have neglected these dominant informal and slum communities, considering them as a nuisance in the cities. As a result, slum residents lack access to basic essential services, including parks. The popular claim in the urban studies literature is that residents of slum communities are mostly concerned with finding space to live but not for recreation. Contrary to this, researchers have found that 93% of the slum residents in their study demonstrated a reasonable understanding of the importance of green city spaces.