• Building greener cities: nine benefits of urban trees

    #fao #green cities #trees #value of trees

    For the first time in history, more than 50 percent of the world’s population now lives in towns and cities. By 2050, this number is expected to increase to 66 percent. The shift from rural to urban areas, mainly in Africa and Asia, is due to poverty and related socio-economic factors.

    For the most part, the rapid expansion of cities takes place without any land use planning strategy and the resulting human pressure has highly damaging effects on forests, landscapes, as well as green areas in and around cities. The environmental impacts of urbanization are often intensified by climate change and include increased pollution, decreased availability of food and resources, as well as increased poverty and frequency of extreme climatic events.

    Urban trees can help to mitigate some of the negative impacts and social consequences of urbanization, and thus make cities more resilient to these changes. Here are nine ways in which urban trees and forests contribute to making cities socio-economically and environmentally more sustainable:

    1. Trees can contribute to the increase of local food and nutrition security, providing food such as fruits, nuts and leaves for both human consumption and fodder. Their wood, in turn, can be used for cooking and heating.
    2. Trees play an important role in increasing urban biodiversity, providing  plants and animals with a favourable habitat, food and protection.
    3. A mature tree can absorb up to 150 kg of CO2per year. As a result, trees play an important role in climate change mitigation. Especially in cities with high levels of pollution, trees can improve air quality, making cities healthier places to live in.
    4. Strategic placement of trees in cities can help to cool the airbetween 2 and 8 degrees Celsius, thus reducing the urban “heat island” effect, and helping urban communities to adapt to the effects of climate change.
    5. Large trees are excellent filters for urban pollutantsand fine particulates. They absorb pollutant gases (such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone and sulfer oxides) and filter fine particulates such as dust, dirt or smoke out of the air by trapping them on leaves and bark.
    6. Research shows that living in close proximity of urban green spaces and having access to them, can improve physical and mental health, for example by decreasing high blood pressure and stress. This, in turn, contributes to the well-being of urban communities.
    7. Mature trees regulate water flowand play a key role in preventing floods and reducing the risk of natural disasters. A mature evergreen tree, for instance, can intercept more than 15 000 liters of water per year.
    8. Trees also help to reduce carbon emissionsby helping to conserve energy. For example, the correct placement of trees around buildings can reduce the need for air conditioning by 30 percent, and reduce winter heating bills by 20-50 percent.
    9. Planning urban landscapes with trees can increase property value, by up to 20 percent, and attract tourism and business.

    A city with well-planned and well-managed green infrastructure becomes more resilient, sustainable and equitable in terms of nutrition and food security, poverty alleviation, livelihood improvement, climate change mitigation and adaptation, disaster risk reduction and ecosystems conservation. Throughout their lifetime, trees can thus provide a benefit package worth two to three times more than the investment made in planting and caring for them.

    Planting trees today is, therefore, essential for future generations!

    Source http://www.fao.org/zhc/detail-events/en/c/454543/


  • Biotopes help Copenhagen plan for a rainy day

    #Denmark #Ecological

    Copenhagen-based design practice SLA wins the Nordic Built Cities Challenge Award for a landscape proposal that uses natural processes to defend cities against natural disasters.

    As the world’s weather patterns appear ever more unpredictable and subject to extremes, the search is on for urban design solutions to help protect cities from the resulting floods and heatwaves. Driven as much by local municipalities as by national governments, a number of design initiatives, workshops and competitions have emerged around the world, promoting urban environments that are resilient and climate adaptive. A good example is the Nordic Built Cities Challenge.

    The 2016 overall winner is a proposal from Danish urban development consultancy SLA, whose proposal for the Copenhagen district of Nørrebro presents an ambitious plan to manage an increase in frequency and extent of sudden and heavy rainfall. The submission focuses on a long slice of the city, starting at Hans Tavsens Park and stretching along Korsgade, down to Peblinge Lake, and is distinguished by two key elements.

    Firstly and most importantly, the proposal establishes an innovative approach to watermanagement. Three distinct approaches to watermanagement are proposed. Rain water will be collected in tanks across the entire area for use by by local residents. That is the everyday component of the design proposal.

    In response to heavy rainfall, Hans Tavsens Park will be fitted with 18,000 cubic meters of ‘delayed volume’ at ground level, so that storm water can be purified and delayed before discharge via discharge pipes into the lake. When storms threaten to flood, rain water will be directed at ground level along a retrofitted Korsgade, down to the Peblinge Lake.

    This is not, however, simply an civil engineering solution: it is also an ecological one. This kilometer of city, from the park to the lake, will serve as an elongated, circular water purification system, purifying not only the rain but also the lake. Combining natural biotopes with advanced natural filtering and pumping techniques, this system will purify rain water, removing nutrients and phosphorus, as well as suspended solids and metals. When not dealing with storm and rain water the system will be pumped with lake water, as a year-round water feature that simultaneously cleans the lake.


    Source: https://www.foreground.com.au

  • Heathrow unveils new ‘garden gate’ green initiative

    #green wall #Heathrow #indoor green

    Heathrow airport reveals their new ‘Garden Gate’, a green wall comprising 1,680 plants that include the English native Ivy and Peace Lily by Gate 25 in Terminal 3.

    Installed by urban greening specialists, Biotecture, following a six-month off-site trial, if it proves a success, the gateway claims that it will look at adding more such installations across its facilities in the future. It believes that the Garden Gate provides “an eco-sanctuary” within Britain’s busiest airport and points to academic research that has found a correlation between calm, comfort and relaxation and exposure to plants.

    Biotecture director, Richard Sabin, notes “The Garden Gate at Heathrow is the latest, and perhaps most iconic, living wall representing the advancement of eco-technologies in the UK. “The world’s major cities are increasingly investing in green infrastructure and the Garden Gate, both technically and ecologically, is cutting edge for its ease of installation, unique plant selection and LED lighting system. “As the nexus of transit and technology, transportation hubs are ideal locations for green infrastructure to become an investment in public health and wellbeing.”

    While Emma Gilthorpe, strategy director at Heathrow says: “With our new Garden Gate, our passengers can enjoy a natural sanctuary of rest and relaxation as they make their way through the airport, with 1,680 plants ready to see them on their way.” An average, 287,274 passengers pass through Gate 25 in Terminal 3 every year.

    Source: airport-world.com

  • New law in Paris allows anyone to plant an urban garden

    #green city #Green laws #paris

    Paris just passed a new law that allows anyone to plant an urban garden within the city’s limits. Upon receiving a permit, gardeners can grow plants on walls, in boxes, on rooftops, under trees, or on fences.

    They can cultivate greenery in front of their homes or offices. They can grow flowers, vegetables, and fruit. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo’s goal is to create 100 hectares of living walls and green roofs by the year 2020, with one third of that greenery dedicated to agriculture.

    Locals are encouraged to be “gardeners of the Parisian public space” under the new law. Gardeners must use sustainable methods, avoiding pesticides and promoting biodiversity in the city. They are asked to sign a “Charter of revegetation” and grow “local honey plants,” and they will need to maintain their urban gardens and ensure the greenery enhances the city’s aesthetic. The City of Paris will issue the three-year permits, with the option to renew them.

    The city asked residents to get creative with where they grow plants, and it will contribute a “planting kit” with seeds and topsoil. They say they’ve offered a few suggestions, but mainly hope people will use their imagination for where they might be able to green the city. Paris city officials hope the law will improve the quality of life for city dwellers and boost the beauty of the city. Assistant to the Mayor of Paris Penelope Komitès also said cultivating the gardens could help locals strengthen relationships with their neighbors and “create social links.”

    Source: inhabitat.com

  • Inside the world’s first airport potato farm at JFK

    #Future green city #green airport

    Made up of 5,000 stacked milk crates planted with flourishing vegetables, herbs and blue potatoes, JetBlue’s 24,000-square-foot T5 Farmat John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens, New York is the first of its kind in the world. Inhabitat recently had a chance to sneak a peek inside what is truly a “departure” from the traditional farm.

    etBlue launched the T5 Farm in 2015 as an experiment in urban farming that pushes the boundaries of the local food movement.

    “An airport seems like an unexpected place for a farming experiment, but what better way to explore our role in the food cycle than to harvest right in our own back yard at JFK?” said Sophia Mendelsohn, JetBlue’s head of sustainability.

    Planted in collaboration with NYC nonprofit GrowNYC, the farm is made up of 3,000 crates of the airline’s signature blue potato plants and 2,000 crates filled with veggies and herbs ranging from mint to lettuce to basil to kohlrabi.

    While the farm grows a large variety of species, special care was taken to exclude berries and other plants that could attract birds and other wildlife that could pose a danger to departing aircraft.

    The plants are grown in organic soil composted of food waste that was actually collected from Terminal 5 and made into compost at McEnroe Organic Farm in Millerton, NY.

    source: inhabitat.com

  • Let plants remove particulate matter from your home

    #Benefits of green #climate #Co2 #plants

    Did you know that chemical emission in the home is common? Emission from everyday products you wouldn’t expect: building materials, cleaning products, disposables and printers are common sources of internal air pollution. More and more is becoming known about the damaging effects of particulate matter (PM) but very little attention is yet paid to PM in our homes or what you can do to help combat it yourself. Plants are cheap and active air purifiers.

    Why is the indoor climate becoming increasingly polluted?

    There are two main reasons for the increasing problem of air pollution in homes, offices and care homes.

    • Building insulation is increasingly effective and even private homes are often mechanically ventilated. Cracks and draughts used to be perfectly normal. Ventilation was not a problem in those days!
    • We buy more and more disposable and complex cleaning products and equipment and also use more and more compound and glued construction materials. All these materials and substances contain particulate compounds.

    In addition to which, people increasingly have indoor jobs, participate in indoor recreation and, therefore, spend more time indoors than they did 20 years ago. This certainly applies to children. Generally speaking, it can be said that we spend 80-90% of our time indoors and that the indoor air is 5 to 10 times more polluted than the outdoor air.

    What are these substances and products?

    Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are toxic, colourless but sometimes odourous volatile substances in the air we breathe in, which are so small that the hairs in the nostrils do not trap them. They consequently enter the lungs where each substance can cause a different reaction. Research is ongoing to determine the exact damage, but every new study demonstrates that the risks are greater than we first thought. The products shown here ‘evaporate’ the toxins into the air. The concentrations are usually only small but if there is inadequate ventilation, they will remain airborne. Furthermore, and this is not shown in the table, we people constantly use the oxygen in indoor air and breathe out CO2. If a room has inadequate ventilation or too few plants in it, the air will automatically ‘get used up’.

    This list is by no means exhaustive, neither does it include all substances emitted, but it does give some indication of the kinds of materials and substances concerned. Everyone will have a number of these products at home. Therefore, everyone will be exposed to the harmful effects. You can’t see these toxins but you can sometimes smell them. Acetone in nail-varnish remover or ammonia and chlorine in cleaning products.

    Even if you can’t smell the polluted air, we all know what it’s like; we can all remember what the air in a full classroom was like at the end of a gym lesson. Spend a few hours in a meeting room and you’ll often find the air equally unpleasant. You’ll find it hard to concentrate and long to breathe in some outdoor air. If that’s how you feel, then you’re in a room with polluted air.

    Plants as air purifier

    Hardly anybody thinks of plants as active air purifying mechanisms. But they are just that. Plants provide the world with oxygen and that applies to indoor plants too. Indoor plants continuously convert CO2 into oxygen, just like the trees outside. So the air in a room with plants will last longer than in a room without. Research has also demonstrated that plants are able to actively filter the VOCs listed above out of the air. Not all plants tackle all substance to the same extent, some plants are even considered ‘specialists’ for specific substances.

    The fern (Nephrolepsis exaltata) is a Formaldehyde expert. Areca palm is the specialist in combating Xylene and Toluene, and the most effective way to rid a house of Ammonia is to have a Lady palm (Rhapis exelsa). The Spath or Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), finally, is very effective for removing Acetone.

  • Mother Earth Day: Six ways trees combat climate change

    #Benefits of green #Earth Day #trees

    Annually, April 22 is set aside by the United Nations (UN) to commemorate the International Mother Earth Day.

    This year’s Mother Earth Day, themed Trees for Earth, sets the goal of planting about 7.8 billion trees in the next five years.

    See how the United Nations says trees can help combat climate change:

    Standing tall, with various branches, trees “absorb excess and harmful CO2 from our atmosphere.”  In a single year, an acre of mature trees will absorb produced by driving 26,000 miles. They generally reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in the air.

    Trees will help you breathe clean air. They absorb odour and gases that are pollutant: (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone). They also “filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark”.

    And we can combat loss of species, increase “habitat connectivity between regional forest patches” just by planting trees.

    Trees also provide long-term economic benefit, especially with commercial trees- providing food, energy and income.

    canopy.org,  an organisation that plants and cares for trees, says “access to trees, green spaces, and parks promotes greater physical activity, and reduces stress, while improving the quality of life in our cities and towns”.

    Trees are natural coolers. The evaporation from one tree “can produce the cooling effect of ten room-size, residential air conditioners operating 20 hours a day,” according to Canopy.org.

    Go ahead and plant a tree.

  • Manchester City Council gives green light for City Gardens

    #green agenda #Manchester #parks

    Manchester City Council has given the go ahead for DeTrafford Estates’ new City Gardens development, close to the Church of St George in Castlefield.

    The proposals for the 11 storey apartment building were made several months ago and have now received the stamp of approval needed for work to begin.

    The development comprises 86 apartments, 3 commercial units, associated parking and rooftop gardens as well as private terraces and balconies. And the news now signals the start of the third phase of a major re-development plan by the Manchester based company.

    City Gardens will mark the third phase of the Castlefield masterplan, sitting along side; The Sky Gardens and The Roof Gardens, One Ellesmere Street which will create 319 new homes, a public square, courtyards and tree-lined walkways, together with 30,000 sq ft of commercial space.

    Accommodation will include single storey one and two bedroom apartments featuring floor to ceiling windows, with the top three floors comprising three bedroom triplex penthouses and private terraces. Communal roof gardens on the eighth floor will include a sun terrace and picnic area, while the communal lobby will feature a vertical garden.

    Founder and Director of DeTrafford Estates Group said, Gary Jackson said: “This approval allows us to move forward with the third phase of our development featuring roof garden living. It marks another milestone in the delivery of the proposed master plan for the area and supports its continuing transformation.

    “Our schemes, offering boutique homes with easy access to outside space, are designed for today’s city living and will contribute to an already great sense of community.”

    Building work will be undertaken by Pochin’s and is scheduled to commence this summer with an anticipated 18 month build programme, while work is already underway on phase one, The Roof Gardens, One Ellesmere Street.

  • Massive solar-powered garden towers to spring up in Tokyo

    #Future green city #green agenda #green roof #Japan

    Tokyo’s urban jungle is about to become a whole lot greener. Dutch firm ingenhoven architects unveiled designs for the Toranomon Project, a mixed-use development draped with greenery that, once complete, will boast the city’s highest residential building at approximately 220 meters tall. Designed to flank the existing Toranomon Hills Mori Tower on two sides, the green-roofed buildings will include a variety of environmentally friendly technologies, from solar panels to gray water recycling.

    The Toranomon Project will comprise two buildings: a 175,000-square-meter office tower and a 122,000-square-meter residential tower, both of which will be slightly shorter than the 250-meter-tall Toranomon Hills Mori Tower located between the two. The new buildings will feature horizontal ledges to provide solar shading and to maintain a shared architectural vocabulary. OMA has also designed the Toranomon Hills Station Tower, another new building that will join the Toranomon Hills Business and Residential Towers. Together, the Toranomon Hills complex will cover an area of around 7.5 hectares and include integrated transportation spaces—including a new subway station on the Hibiya Line—and green space.

    “The result will be an international hub for businesses, residents and visitors alike, based on ingenhoven architects and Mori Building’s shared urban vision of the “vertical garden city,” write the architects. “Planting on the rooftops helps reduce the urban heat island effect while also enhancing the buildings’ appearance when seen from above.” Fully glazed facades optimize natural daylight and open up to landscaped terraces and outdoor decks on multiple levels. The addition of lush plantings also reduces air pollutants and improves the microclimate.

    The Toranomon Project is expected to achieve a CASBEE Class ’S’ rating and will include green technologies such as a cogeneration system, gray water recycling, high-performance glazing,rainwater harvesting, photovoltaics, and high-efficiency lighting and mechanical equipment. The project is slated for completion in 2019.

    Source: inhabitat.com

  • Düsseldorf goes green with hedged façades and a roof-park

    #city parks #green development #green infrastructure

    Cities everywhere are undergoing somewhat of a green renaissance, with public spaces and linear parks being built around existing infrastructure and buildings. In Düsseldorf, Germany, however, the buildings themselves are being greened, with hedged façades and a green roof that forms a park.

    The redevelopment of this slice of Düsseldorf city center, between Gustaf-Gründgens-Plaza, the Schadowstrasse shopping street and the new Jan-Wellem-Plaza, follows the demolition of an elevated road. This opened up the space, providing views of some of the city’s iconic nearby buildings.

    A new retail and office building was chosen for the location following an international design competition in 2014. Designed by competition winner Ingenhoven Architects, Kö-Bogen 2 will have hedges covering its stepped façades and the entirety of its roof. In total, the building is adorned in almost 4 km (2.5 mi) of hedges, making it quite unlike the vast majority of other buildings with green walls or roofs.

    The species of hedge used is known as Hornbeam, which is said to be commonly found in parks around Düsseldorf and the surrounding region. It is robust, making it relatively low-maintenance, will help attract nature to city center and will change color with the seasons. In addition, it will provide, cool, clean and moist air to the adjacent spaces, as well as act as a wind barrier.

    Across a pedestrian walkway from the stepped façade, the ground will begin to slope upwards, rising eventually to a height of 10 m (33 ft).This will be the roof of a second building, but will double as a new grassy public space for relaxing and meeting with others, complementing the green façade of the building opposite, and completing the newly greened landscaping of the area.

    Although no date has been set for the construction of Kö-Bogen 2 to begin, Gizmag understands it will be around the middle of this year and the building is expected to be complete next year.

    Source: gizmag.com