Unlike in rural spaces, climate change’s effects are more visible in urban areas. Factors like industrial growth, technological development and urban migration will only increase the burden on our urban areas. Thus, it is necessary to make urban areas more eco-friendly. This is where urban greening is relevant.
Meaning of Urban Greening
Urban greening means making urban spaces green. When something is made green, it signifies that it benefits the environment. Urban greening includes trees, parks, green roofs, pedestrian trail systems, and canopies. It can also include water systems like streams or fountains.
Importance of Urban Greening
Cities like Liverpool’s living walls and Singapore’s Green Plan 2030 show that green spaces can exist and thrive in urban areas. Asides from the definite aesthetic value urban green spaces provide, urban greening is also important for the following reasons.
- Reduces pollution: Green spaces reduce air and noise pollution in urban areas. Fine dust particles are trapped, carbon dioxide is converted to oxygen, and carbon emissions are reduced. Essentially, air quality is improved, and noise pollution is less.
- Increases biodiversity: Living walls like that in Liverpool and green roofs on homes contributes to environmental biodiversity. Insects like bees and butterflies find a home in these natural habitats, and cross-pollination is ensured. In addition, the presence of these insects aids the ecology of the community.
- Combats flooding: Unlike concrete walls that cannot absorb water, a green surface can absorb rainwater, reducing the risk of flooding. The presence of green roofs and street trees helps to improve drainage and reduces flooding.
Effects of Urban Greening
The effects of urban greening can be summarized in the following ways
- On the environment
An improved atmosphere is perhaps the significant effect of urban greening. The characteristics of every urban setting, like greenhouse emissions, noise and air pollution, and constant construction with impermeable materials, contribute to declining climate health. With urban greening, we can have a regulated temperature, fresh air, faster water absorption, and better water quality. All of these contribute to a better climate.
Research has shown that urban greening offsets urban warming by 0.13C a decade in Europe. If every large city worldwide can implement urban greening, imagine how better the environment will look and feel!
- On the economy
With urban greening, the costs of fixing the environment are drastically reduced. For example, when there is flooding, governments will have to invest in restructuring the city landscape. On the other, green spaces in a country can boost employment opportunities, encourage tourism and attract investments.
In addition, studies in the UK have revealed that properties with greenspaces features are valued higher by about 5-7%. Urban greening also has the effect of reducing criminal activity.
- On health and well-being
The increased wellness of us inhabitants of urban spaces is another driving feature of urban greening. Where there are abundant green spaces, people are physically and mentally healthier. Additionally, increased social cohesion exists, creativity is nurtured, and a sense of community is present.
Urban greening directly affects climate change, fostering a safer environment for better health and well-being.
To implement urban greening, it must be considered part of the overall urban infrastructure. Regardless of how a city structures its green spaces, its overarching effects will contribute to a better environment and improved climate.