Posted by Kristyn Maslog-Levis on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 @ 6:57 PM
Cities Alive: A Green Path to The Future:
Years from now, the urban landscape will be a linked “city ecosystem that encompasses parks and open spaces, urban trees, streets, squares, woodland and waterways”.
This is according to a new report called “Cities Alive: Rethinking green infrastructure” by Arup. It says cities should rethink green infrastructure to help create “healthier, safer and more prosperous cities”.
“To realise this vision, green infrastructure has to now take a more influential role in the planning and design of cities and urban environments,” the report said.
“They will need to address the challenge of rapidly rising urban populations, adapt to the detrimental effects of climate change and provide much more integrated solutions for everything, from energy provision to transport.”
The study has five key points on the future of urban designs. Here are some of the excerpts from the report:
1. Urban green needs to be more than just an aesthetic consideration. It is a fundamental part of an urban ecosystem, which improves social interaction and physical and mental health. Vertical farming may become more popular as urban population grows and available space shrinks. The use of roofs, vertical spaces and basements to grow arable crops could result in shorter, more environmentally friendly distribution routes, healthier diets and fresher foods.
2. Make landscapes work harder, for several end-users and to improve climate change resilience, through a multi-functional design approach. With land at a premium, creating city space for people will call for courageous design. As cities expanded in previous times urban railways went underground – why not underground roads now? Burying key highways will significantly lower pollution, noise, congestion and barriers to movement. This will create huge gains by freeing up city space for people and enhancing the city environment.
3. Designs need to be creative to deliver a green city ecosystem – from both citywide strategic projects to more imaginative uses of space within the layers of the city. Green roofs, walls and facades are likely to become more prominent in cities as we need to exploit and retrofit the layers of the city to find space for recreation and nature. Extensive green networks through the city are the aim of a green infrastructure design approach. Networks can be formed over time to create an encompassing city ecosystem that can support the sustainable movement of people, rebuild biodiversity and provide substantial climate change adaptation.
4. By capitalising on advances in technology to measure the value that nature delivers through ecosystems services, we can optimise the planning and design of urban space to meet future demands. Permeable paving and soft landscape areas will help urgently convert grey to green in future city environments – a simple but vital technology that improves water absorption and slow down rain water run-off. Adaptable public spaces can be designed for multiple functions such as meeting places, markets, entertainment and education places.
5. There needs to be an integrated approach to delivery that links and connects policy to transgress silo-driven cultures and achieve long term benefits. This requires landscape architects to work closely with government, authorities, developers and associated city design consultants. We have to recognise the potential of green infrastructure, but also understand how it can be integrated with other urban systems like energy, transport and resource management. Green infrastructure has to take a more central role in the planning and design of cities.