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6 amazing things city dwellers miss out on

By: EB Solomont on Nov. 1, 2010, 12:19 p.m.
crocus flowers at an urban park in Düsseldorf, Germany

Photo: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

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In the world’s biggest cities, tall skyscrapers sprout more frequently than fresh tree saplings — but that doesn’t mean urban dwellers don’t know what they are missing.

Seattle, a city that values its trees, recently fined a judge $500,000 for cutting down 120 cherry and maple trees. Urban jungles like New York and Los Angeles have launched ambitious campaigns to plant 1 million trees.

It’s no wonder that city dwellers have their eye on the emerald prize, as a number of studies show that greenery boosts our health. Just five minutes of exercise a day in an outdoor setting can improve your mental state. Healthy children and leafy suburbs also go together, according to asthma researchers. In a New York City-based study, asthma rates among children fell by a quarter for every 340 trees per square kilometer.

In all, the U.S. Forest Service maintains 193 million acres of national forest and grassland nationwide — meaning ours is a pretty green country.