This individual assignment entails a formal letter written to a politician, decision maker, or organization (level is optional – local, regional, national, global), such as a mayor, director of hospital, head of a city’s urban planning, park board director, environmental protection agency, or other international organization. Firstly, gain an understanding of a program or initiative of your interest that is relevant for the content covered in this course. Secondly, identify the leader that may be in charge of this program (e.g. park board director). Finally, write a letter to the leader of this program suggesting potential ways to improve its implementation by considering scientific evidence on urban forests and human health.
Gain insight into how a contemporary program around nature and health may look like.
Analyze and evaluate a program or initiative in terms of its potential connection to urban forestry and human well-being and health.
Integrate the knowledge you have achieved throughout the course and use it in a real-life scenario where you get the chance to discuss current problems and potential solutions.
Show an ability to apply critical thinking and analysis, using the theories, perspectives and methods introduced and discussed during the course.
Practice how to prepare a well-structured and well-written letter that explains clearly your arguments and ideas for improvement.
Content of the letter:
The first step is to gain an understanding of a program or initiative of your interest that is relevant for the content covered in this course. The case study will typically be a program/initiative/plan implemented in a city or town, or perhaps a metropolitan area or a larger city district. You are encouraged to look beyond the Greater Vancouver area, and for example select a program or initiative in the city where you grew up.
Secondly, identify the leader that may be in charge of the targeted program. Perhaps it is a single person, like the Park Board Director, or perhaps the program is led by a team, or an organization. This person, team or organization will be your target audience. You will direct your formal letter to the target audience.
You will need to read up on their current environmental health program/initiative/plan and consider how they integrate or don’t integrate health and nature perspectives in order to present your aim with the letter and address the recipient adequately.
In the letter, address the following issues:
Is urban forestry and health considered/prioritized in their program?
Is it enough? Is the mentioning of urban forestry and health sufficient and adequate?
What can be improved?
Why and how should it be improved? Here it is important to come up with credible arguments, based on scientific evidence (do not forget to refer to the literature!). Remember to be neutral and demonstrate that you are aware of limitations in the research and potential trade-offs. Consider different aspects of why the program should be improved, such as, for example, different population groups and geographical contexts, and effects on both the environment and humans. Suggest realistic solutions.
Here are examples of letters produced by students in past years for you to use as a reference:For more information on urban forestry and health sufficient check on this:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_forestry
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