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Fostering a Love of Nature in the Next Generation

In a world that is increasingly filled with indoor entertainment options, children are spending more and more time away from the natural world that surrounds them.  Over the past 20 years, the time kids spend outdoors has fallen by 50% and the rate of obesity has more than tripled.  At the same time, research is increasingly pointing to the developmental, educational, and health benefits of learning and playing in a natural setting.  Experts are finding that children who play and learn in nature are:

  • Healthier
    Active nature play improves physical conditioning and has a positive effect on emotional well-being and child development.  Outdoor play is crucial to solving hypertension, anxiety, depression, and diabetes — “the diseases of indoor living.”
  • Happier
    Nature play increases self-esteem and reduces stress.  Children learn self-discipline and are more cooperative with others. Children feel more capable, confident, and connected to nature when they play outside.
  • Smarter
    Play in nature, particularly during the critical period of middle childhood, is proven to increase capacities for creativity, problem-solving, and emotional and intellectual development. Schools using environmental themes report improved academic performance, and children who play in nature are more likely to become tomorrow’s conservation leaders.

So how do we foster an interest and appreciation for nature in the next generation?

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Chris Crawford Leads ULI Panel on Baby Boomer Housing

This month RVi President Chris Crawford stepped into the spotlight, serving as moderator for the ULI Austin Breakfast Baby Boomer Housing 2.0: Sun City and Beyond.  Chris and the RVi team have provided planning and landscape architecture services for many active adult communities, including Sun City developments in Texas, Phoenix, and California – as well as senior living communities like Longhorn Village in Austin and St. Anthony’s Gardens in Louisiana.

The panel consisted of Brent Baker of Pulte Homes, Wes Peoples of Wes Peoples Homes, and Bernie Smith of ProMatura.  The group discussed the changing preferences of buyers in the age-targeted market.  Approximately 10,000 baby boomers retire per day, and this new group has higher expectations for upgrades, amenities, and technology.  Many of them also have an aversion to the typical “age restricted lifestyle” – preferring instead to be active, continue working part-time after retirement, and live near their families.

“Baby Boomers are the housing market's fastest growing category.  We must always challenge what has been done for the last 50 years and design for this continuously changing demographic,” Chris said.

You can read more from the Austin Business Journal’s coverage of this event here.

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RVi Volunteers for Austin Parks

Earlier this month, RVi participated in It’s My Park Day, the Austin Parks Foundation’s largest city-wide volunteer event. This annual occasion brings together thousands of volunteers who work to improve parks and greenbelts throughout the city. RVi had the opportunity to clear brush and spread mulch at one of our very own projects, Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park!

If you are interested in learning more about this annual event, check out the It's My Park Day website for more information.

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