How to Push the New Green Wave: Green Infrastructure in Urban Areas

Apr 16, 2019

By Hartley Prosser

Urban forestry, urban agriculture, and green infrastructure are all ideas that aim to make urban lifestyles more sustainable and more connected to Nature. Many factors affect how green a city is. Urban planning has an extensive amount of legislation involved. This legislation, of course, has its appropriate policies and stakeholders that are all integrated together. If the policies that are in place are to reflect the general ethos of Western culture, then they must consider the cries for climate action that have manifested in recent years.

How does this get adopted?

Achieving climate-readiness via urban agriculture and/or urban forestry is a new concept for governments and stakeholders to adopt at a large-scale. We have limited amounts of history and knowledge within these areas in Canada. Therefore, to encourage government to potentially adopt urban forestry/agricultural policies, communities can take the charge and launch a pilot project. Not only can government decisions be based off pilot projects, urban pilot projects can themselves be based off projects and policies happening in other parts of the world.

Pilot projects are known to be a strategy of getting “a foot in the door” to educate a wide variety of audiences on new innovations. These “demonstrations” have been used for a diverse range of new and innovative technologies. These projects are typically smaller-scale and are more likely to be activated because of this feature. Pilot projects are handy because they do not ask for large scale change to existing paradigms – they simply ask for a small chance to demonstrate the applications and outcomes of new and innovative technologies.

Green Infrastructure Pilot Projects

Making your environment beautiful

There has been substantial use of urban agriculture and urban forestry throughout many parts of the world. There are many versions of how these green infrastructure concepts are demonstrated on small-scales. All of them are creating elegant green spaces that not only serve to provide valuable ecosystem services to a city but also possess strong aesthetic appeal.

Green-infrastructure has the potential to provide hands-on experiential learning. Planting, designing, and maintenance of green spaces should be an inclusive process that adds to the many benefits of green infrastructure. The interaction that people have with elegantly designed green spaces causes an intimacy with nature that sometimes leads to inspiration. Inspiration can lead to aspiration. Aspiration achieved from a green project can lead to more green projects, and the cycle continues.

Implementing these projects in cities can be very rewarding. Given the higher population density inside cities, restoring Nature in these areas affects a lot of people. Furthermore, by making your community part of a project plan, the project will be connecting community members through the engagement. Things like volunteer plantings can instill a sense of care and commitment for the green-space which can result in greater overall community responsibility towards the final result. Successful projects typically involve getting people with different backgrounds and skillsets to all work together towards a common goal.

There are a variety of supports for green infrastructure projects including government and non-government grants:

Ideas for Projects

Simply searching the web using the keywords “green infrastructure” can yield some intriguing project ideas. Here are a couple:

Click here to check out an upcycled project that takes a used shipping container and creates natural habitat and shelter alongside water management. As noted in the graphic, instead of water going into sewers and putting stress onto city water systems, water is being channeled to create green living walls and roofs that are absorbing carbon dioxide, cleaning water and air, and bringing nature to the city.

Click here to see how a simple urban curbside has been converted into a rainwater garden to capture rain and filter it. The end result is a beautiful slice of Nature that is bringing habitat, air purification, and clean water to the urban landscape.

Green projects are meant to be fun and artful. Have an idea? Share it with us or your friends!

About the author:

Hartley has been with The Gaia Project since October 2018. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Sciences and expertise in self-heating passive solar greenhouses, aquaponic growing systems and green living-roof systems.

Click here to learn more about Hartley.

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