Green City Guidelines (Conclusion)

Image credit: Audrey Gerber

Many of the principles contained within these guidelines are similar to those of Ebenezer Howard’s 1902 Garden Cities of Tomorrow, where parks, houses and gardens, boulevards and grand avenues were at the heart of the city. This utopian vision, part of the Garden City Movement, was a reaction against the conditions in cities during the Industrial Revolution. People in the 19th century came to the cities to work and subsequently lived under unhealthy, crowded and polluted conditions. There were only a few of these “utopian” plans built before the Great Depression. After that, the mass use of the car became a significant driver for urban planners and those ‘garden city’ principles were put to one side.

The Green City approach described in this book focuses on improving the conditions of the urban (inner) city environment in order to create healthy liveable cities where people want to live and work. By providing green spaces where people can relax and exercise, green streets which help refresh the air and green buildings that remind us of nature beyond the city limits. The Green City has a chance to bring people back in touch with nature in their everyday lives. Liveable urban neighbourhoods within the city limits will make living in the city in which people work a desirable option. And those with no choice have a right to live in a healthy urban environment. By drawing people back into the city, the reduction in car usage can help reduce background air pollution, carbon emissions, congestion and the social problems associated with high levels of road traffic that cities are struggling with today.

Green spaces and trees in the city have proven positive influences on the image of cities in terms of liveablity, attractiveness and sustainability. The cities who strive for sustainable solutions are the cities that will be able to provide healthy growth and development in the future. As mentioned in our summary chapter, it is expected that in the year 2047, 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. The professionals, politicians, community leaders and others who help to shape our cities have a responsibility to ensure that the developers and designers work hand in hand with the green sector in order to provide enough space for green, whether it be in the form of parks, gardens, trees or green roofs. The key is to remember that investment in green outweighs the costs. No one green solution will solve the complex problems which cities face, and many of the benefits are difficult to translate into monetary terms. However, the integral benefits of green are far-reaching and cannot be ignored.

The guidelines in this book are suggestions as to how a city can become “greener” with plants, trees and parks. They are grounded in the knowledge and ideas that have been brought to the mainstream by many researchers and designers today. This book represents the beginning of an evolving, dynamic process of updating, enhancing and expanding the Green City guidelines in order to reach a truly international handbook that can be applied in cities around the world.

“It is very important that maintenance standards should be seen purely in terms of levels of resource input and not become confused by value-laden judgements of what is good or bad….. Landscape quality is not dependent on hours expended, but whether maintenance produces an endpoint that is aesthetically and functionally appropriate to the landscape in question” James Hitchmough, Urban Landscape Management Inkata Press.

 

 

Literature

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Expert team participants

Websites

  • www.ahta.org
  • www.bomenstichting.nl
  • www.eva-lanxmeer.nl
  • www.forumforthefuture.org/greenfutures/articles/gardens-hidden-capital-revealed
  • www.functioneelgroen.nl
  • www.groeneschoolpleinen.nl
  • www.impala-eu.org
  • www.landscapeinstitute.org/PDF/Contribute/PressReleaseLandscapeInstituteEcobuildFringeSeminarstacklethecaseforinvestment inlandscapean.pdf
  • www.park2020.com
  • www.straatbomen.nl
  • www.stroom.nl
  • www.tno.nl/downloads/IB_URBAN_STRATEGY_EN.pdf
  • http://vroegevogels.vara.nl
  • www.west8.nl