Green infrastructure for cities

In Great Britain, “green infrastructure” has been discussed for quite some time, on mainland Europe this topic is just on the rise: “green infrastructure”. At the “1st European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference” which took place in Vienna past November, this new field and its importance and possibilities was analyzed. Weatherpark was present and summarizes the main points for you:

Gruene_Infrastruktur_WeatherparkA city’s greenery plays an active role in the improvement of quality of life for inhabitants, beyond its function as recreation area. Green infrastructure comprises classical green areas such as parks and gardens, but also green roofs and facades as well as trees along lanes and streets, grassed tram tracks, green inner courtyards and, in a broader sense, also rivers, ponds and lakes. These green infrastructure elements have extensive “functions”: they cool the city on hot days, serve as water retention system in case of bad weather, improve urban biodiversity, clean air and water and support human health and well-being.

Green spaces work best when interconnected, thus establishing green corridors which can fully develop the above mentioned advantages. These not only enable animals and plants to settle more easily in the city, but human beings can move about the city in a more pleasant and healthier manner during a heat wave.

Organizations such as the “European Federation for Green Roofs and Walls”, founded 1997 in Vienna, set the target to bring more green infrastructure into the cities. The decisive factor here is that cities not only wish for it, but define it as an explicit planning objective. Only then will greenery be included in the planning processes as regards urban development. Regarding this, Vienna is an exemplary city. The city’s urban development plan STEP 2025 contains a separate, comprehensive concept for green and open spaces. In it, goals for more greenery in Vienna are defined, such as every resident shall have the next green area in 250 meters reach.