What is Urban Greening and why is it important?
Urban greening was originally a process that aimed to provide urban people with a 'natural' environment, with attendant psychological benefits. There have been some surprising spin-offs from this. It has, for instance been proved that cities that have many trees experience cooler temperatures in summer and have less pollution.
Of course, this is logical! Trees provide shade, transpiration (evaporation of water from leaves) helps to cool the air, and everyone knows that trees use up carbon ' the result of combustion ' that issues from cars, factories and coal-fired power plants on a daily basis. But there's more: a new trend towards 'Green Buildings' with 'living walls' (vertical gardening) and roof gardens have shown that plants can help to conserve energy. They're the very best form of insolation and energy saving!
Urban greening can even extend to urban farming, a great helping hand for the unemployed who are at least able to contribute to the family table, and even income, thanks to their efforts. A recent move has seen corporate enterprises making roof space available for such projects in densely crowded areas.
Another benefit is ecological, and may bring joy to any soul: a good population of plants, preferably plants that are native to an area, attracts birds and other wildlife. The psychological benefits of birdsong have not yet been measured ' what do you think they may be?
Anything to do with plants in urban spaces is 'Urban Greening'. Research has shown some predictable, and some surprising results of greening urban areas. Here are a few that haven't been mentioned yet:
Increased property values (obvious)
Cleaner air (sure, we knew that!)
Reduce flooding and water pollution (It makes sense, but I never thought of it! read more at garden.org)
Calm traffic. (People don't drive as fast? Why? read more here oaklandnorth.net)
Increased revenues in shopping districts (trees are classy, I just didn't realize how classy they were! source: www.fs.fed.us)
Reduce crime (Apparently, this has been proved. See source: lhhl.illinois.edu)
Promotes exercise (People are more inclined to take a walk over short distances than to drive)
Absorb traffic noise and promote privacy (sure, they do that!)
Build civic pride (Makes sense)
Speed healing time after an illness (Surprisingly, there are at least two scientific papers on this topic. Source: depts.washington.edu)
Play areas that assist with children's development (I should have thought of that one!)
Increased productivity when green spaces can be viewed from offices (I'd just spend the day looking out the window, how productive is that?)
Sense of accomplishment for individuals involved with planting. (Do you know it? It's so inspiring!)
Psychological benefits (people who live in green spaces are generally considered to be happier and calmer than those who do not. Gardening has been recommended as a therapy for trauma victims and the bipolar.)
The truth is that being among trees and other plants inspires and enriches the spirit, enhances the environment and uplifts the individual. Our interaction with nature is part of our instinctive makeup, whether we are city or country folk.
Involvement in community greening projects can either create animosity, for example if one or other community leader is seen as being dictatorial, or be a truly positive experience. If you ever happen to be involved with such a project, your diplomacy and leadership skills will determine its success.
Urban community food gardens are a great idea provided that suitable space can be obtained. Avoid disputes by agreeing on roles and responsibilities with all involved. The Memo of understanding should be recorded in writing and signed by all parties.
Municipalities and local government authorities should also attend to the benefits of urban greening since they are responsible for the wellbeing of the populace in general. Secure and attractive play areas for children are essential, and adults enjoy tree-shaded areas for exercise and relaxation.
Countries all over the world are becoming more aware of the need for urban greening, and there are few developments constructed without a few touches from a landscape architect ' even if this is not required by law, as it is in some cases.
Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )