I’ve been on the road (or up in the air) for the past three months, meeting the “green people” – people deeply involved in green urban infrastructure. From old foxes to young enthusiasts who want to make difference in the green industry. Great people, and great creative minds! And we all share a common goal – to make our cities greener, healthier and more comfortable places to live – for everyone.
The word “green” is used increasingly frequently in the urban context, especially to describe various forms and structures. While we’re all familiar with greenery in the form of parks, playgrounds, squares and urban gardens, we’re now seeing more and more green roofs, walls and vertical farms, too – especially in built-up spaces.
The main reason we are losing our green surfaces is the ever-growing need for housing, stores, businesses and manufacturing facilities. The second reason is transportation infrastructure. While our green surfaces slowly disappear and are replaced by buildings, green solutions are already playing a big role in bringing biodiversity to the cities. Now the idea of green transportation infrastructure is starting to spread through the urban dictionary as well.
A lot of positive effects come from planting trees in an urban environment. Planting trees can actually contribute to enjoying cleaner air, and by that contribute to a healthier life in the city, as trees absorb CO2 and produce oxygen, and also absorb pollutants like nitrogen, ammonia and sulphur dioxide.
By shading concrete streets, trees help reduce the temperature of the street and the entire city. With their shading properties, trees also help slow the evaporation of water from other plants. By planting trees the right way stormwater runoff, too, can be controlled.
In addition, trees can provide food, improve our mental wellbeing, lend a sense of identity to the neighbourhood; even real estate with more green areas around tends to have higher value than those with little or no green areas.