-Olga Abinader details the vital role of green spaces-

Olga Abinader, Director of Environmental Review and Land Use Planning (Matrix), was featured in Alive Magazine, a health and environmental wellness publication. 

In “Greenifying the Concrete Jungle” by reporter Adam Meyer, Abinader spoke about the importance of green spaces for improving quality of life, as well as mental and physical wellbeing. 

In major cities, green spaces play a vital role counteracting the environmental damage done by air pollution. These green spaces act as natural air filters, absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen. 

Abinader stated, “Green spaces improve quality of life and are essential to mental and physical well-being”. 

Studies have found cities with parks and natural landscapes have higher air quality and a decrease in pollution-rated health issues. “Urban dwellers with access to more green areas experience fewer instances of mental distress and are less likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and other diseases,” Abinader said. 

As cities work to remedy the lack of green spaces; there still remains the difficulties of accessibility.  While these green scapes exist, they are located far away or closed off from certain communities reducing their ease of access. 

Abinader elaborated, “Everyone, including persons with disabilities, have the right to enjoy outdoor urban green spaces.”  Abinader explained that “gates” often limit access to open spaces and community gardens, and can exclude potential users from enjoying green spaces in their communities.

According to Jayne Warne, PE, President,  “As Olga describes, green spaces are critical to one’s physical and mental health.  Everyone of all abilities deserves access to open, scenic places and the multitude of rewards they offer.”

CLICK HERE to read the article in its entirety.

About Olga Abinader

Olga Abinader, ENV SP, is an environmental and sustainability professional with over 15 years of urban planning, environmental disclosure policy, public speaking, and leadership experience in the public and private sectors. Abinader is the Director of Environmental Review and Land Use Planning and ESG Lead at Matrix New World Engineering, a renowned environmental consulting firm solving national and global challenges in climate change, infrastructure, transportation, and energy. 

Born in the Dominican Republic, Abinader emigrated with her family to Salem, Massachusetts in the early 1990s. Her family maintained strong connections to their Caribbean heritage by speaking only Spanish at home. As a fully bilingual English and Spanish speaker, Abinader translated for family and friends who had limited English skills. In 1999, Abinader assumed a leadership role in the “La Union Latina” organization, established in 1987 at Salem High School to celebrate Latin-American culture and traditions.  In 2007, the preeminent Latinx media group Hispanic Business recognized Abinader as a Winner’s Circle Scholar at the Hispanic Business Inc. Woman of the Year Awards event.

Over the course of her career, Abinader has been honored with numerous speaking engagements, awards, and recognitions, including: Guest Speaker on the ¿Que Pasa, NJ? PBS Talk Show (2022), LatinX Podcast with Randy Gomez (2022), and ‘WRNJ Morning Drive Show’ with Host Bert Baron; the Manager of the Year Award (Joe Salvo Award) at the New York City Department of City Planning, New York, NY (2019); Scholarship Honor and Guest Speaker at the 5th Annual Hispanic Business Woman of the Year Awards, Las Vegas, Nevada (2007); Panelist Speaker at the New Jersey Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The Art of Being a Modern Latina Event, Lyndhurst, New Jersey (2022); and Podcast Guest and Committee Member for the “Today Is The Day Changemakers” organization, a global digital platform for leaders making a significant positive societal impact (2022). 

Abinader was recently recognized by Crain’s New York Business as a ‘2022 Notable Hispanic Leader’ Honoree. 

In 2023, Abinader was appointed to the Brown University Advisory Council for the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES). Founded in 2014, IBES is a thriving interdisciplinary Institute for climate, sustainability, and environmental education and research, achieving national and international stature as one of the top programs of its kind.

As the former Director of the Environmental Assessment and Review Division with the NYC Department of City Planning, Abinader led hundreds of active City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) applications to support transit-oriented growth, housing production and affordability, economic development, and resilient and sustainable communities across NYC.

Abinader received her Master of Urban Planning from Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Brown University. 

About Matrix New World Engineering

Matrix New World Engineering is a company of engineering and science experts who focus on some of the nation’s most pressing long-term challenges, including climate change, resiliency, ecological restoration, contamination studies, water supply, disaster response, and urban revitalization. Matrix believes solving environmental challenges through careful planning and engineering is an indispensable measure of success.

Matrix has offices in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Arizona, Louisiana and California, coupled with project experience throughout the United States and the Caribbean. For more information on the firm, please contact: Jayne Warne, President 800.747.MATRIX, jwarne@mnwe.com