Green City

The Planning Process

Playgrounds and schoolyards

Image credit: Niek Roozen

“Grey” plans based on green

Infrastructure projects should incorporate green early on in the design process for new roads, transit facilities and other projects by assuring ample space (both above ground and underground) and budget for trees and other green. Higher density development which brings people closer to mass transit and takes people out of their cars also increases the “greenness” of an area. The pedestrian experience is very important and can be improved by aesthetic and functional green.

“Red” plans based on green

New development of residential and business areas should incorporate urban forests into the design and use green as a building block. An urban forest is a collection of trees in the urban environment and can vary anywhere from a forest, ecological corridor, park or recreational green space to a green roof garden, street, plaza or front garden.

“Blue” plans based on green

Water managements systems should be designed by a team of engineers together with urban designers, landscape architects and ecologists to ensure an effective balance between engineered and multi-functional nature-based-solutions.

Consider the multifunctionality of green

Use green not only for aesthetics but also for its ability to raise the value of property, improve the health of residents and workers, encourage social interactions, regulate temperatures, retain water, increase biodiversity, reduce energy needs in buildings and remove air pollutants.

Convince decision-makers to demand green

A long-term cost-benefit analysis could convince decision-makers that green elements are essential in all urban projects. The development of green spaces should also play a central role in meeting the aims of policies related to health, nature conservation and spatial planning. The real and instrinsic value of greenery to development projects may be illustrated through systems such as natural capital accounting

“Place just as much weight on green in the planning process as grey, red and blue.”

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Benefits of planning and green


  • Image – creates a green and healthy image for the city
  • Value of real estate – increases in the vicinity of green
  • Air quality – filters pollutants and dust from the air
  • Health – provides opportunities for relaxation, social contact and recreation, and increases health and well-being
  • Aesthetics – beautifies streets and neighbourhoods
  • Climate – reduces the negative impacts of climate change
  • Microclimate – regulates temperature extremes by providing shade, reducing wind, and humidifying the air, creating a more comfortable local environment
  • Water runoff – provides water retention possibilities and reduces peak runoff
  • Biodiversity – creates habitats for flora and fauna in the city
  • Buffers – reduces some negative effects of traffic and industry
  • Energy savings – reduces the need for heating in winter and air conditioning in summer

In new and existing developments

Inform decision makers of the benefits of green in urban areas so it becomes just as standard an element in projects as roads, parking density. Multidisciplinary teams for all infrastructure and development projects require landscape architects, urban ecologists, and horticulturists.