Greening the city
Urban green spaces are gaining in popularity

People are realising there is more to life than steel and concrete. They try to brighten up a city by greening it. London landscape architect Nilufer Danis, born in Turkey and awarded several times for her creations, says the world needs greener cities.

Why?

“Because of global warming. Arctic ice is melting at a record pace and since we live in a world of steel and concrete, much-needed rainwater continually evaporates which renders it useless. Cities need trees and shrubs to cool the air and reduce the urban heat island effect (UHI) which causes global warming. In urban areas the average temperatures are higher than in rural areas because cities lack an abundance of green areas and permeable surfaces. Green cities help solve this phenomenon and combat global warming. Additionally, green means more oxygen, less air pollution and healthy living present and future.”

How?

“Planting mature trees with large leaves is part of the solution. But we also need green roofs that lessen the urban heat island effect as well as capture particulates and pollutants in the air, and produce oxygen as trees do. We need rain gardens and permeable surfaces to catch the water in the cities to prevent flooding and storm-water runoff.

As a landscape architect my job is also to help people come to their senses by informing them why we desperately need greener cities, by challenging them to invest in their cities and by developing government rules and regulations that stimulate greener cities. Some communities have already started this, but many have yet to follow suit.

Landscape architects and growers of trees and shrubs have specials tasks in greening the cities. It is our job as landscape architects to point out the possibilities to planners, developers and architects and to emphasize that creating a green environment is not only more sustainable than building a world of concrete and steel, but it is also much cheaper. Growers should help us and other designers by sharing their knowledge of plants and trees. What trees are the most effective for lessening air pollution and combatting UHI?  What shrubs are best for a rain garden? If we want to create a greener world, cooperation is the keyword.”

 

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