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AIPH Green City Conference presents Champions of Green Cities who share their inspiring stories

The International Association of Horticultural Producers, AIPH, is the world’s Champion for the Power of Plants. Through their Green City programme, AIPH uses knowledge exchange, advocacy, and networking to increase the quality and quantity of living green in urban spaces; motivating the multifunctional benefits that this delivers to people and the planet.

The AIPH 2021 International Green City conference on 22 April is a chance to inspire people, organisations, city councils and government administrations to join this challenging movement and lead global thinking on the successful integration of nature into the built environment. As part of AIPH’s Green City programme, the conference is offered free-of-charge to registered delegates.

Breaking old ‘progressive’ thinking after a global pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic brought issues around the planning of our urban spaces into sharper focus. Some people living across the urban landscape could escape the confines of lockdown and connect with nature to enjoy the benefits of good greenspaces. While for others, the crisis highlighted the fact that some built-up areas have insufficient quality greenspaces.

For our health and wellbeing, for tackling biodiversity loss, for our battle with climate change, new look urban areas are surely the way forward.

At the AIPH 2021 Green City Conference, you will hear about international innovations and advances in city greening from ‘Champions of Green Cities’ – a line-up of expert international speakers who can positively demonstrate that transforming our cities from grey to green need not be an unrealistic quest, but a practical solution.

Event Speakers who are inspiring change

“Transforming the urban landscape of central Melbourne – from grey to green” is the subject of our keynote speaker, Prof. Rob Adams AM, City Architect, City of Melbourne. Prof Adams will describe Melbourne’s many actions over the last three decades to transform its downtown, starting from a realisation in 1985 that the City was going backwards financially, socially, and environmentally.

The design was to focus on the movement of people and not vehicles. Since 1992, with the incremental and significant greening and reorientation of roadscapes, Melbourne has risen from the back of the pack to become, on seven occasions, the World’s most liveable city as determined by The Economist magazine. Many cities have followed what Melbourne pioneered, and it remains a powerfully influential exemplar for the battle against climate change.

Prof. Adams continues his greening crusade and in a recent podcast he argued that recovery from the pandemic should involve refurbishing office buildings into apartments.

Carbon emissions did fall, and city centre air quality did improve during the Covid-19 lockdown from the reduced use of fossil fuel. While the latter may not be a permanent situation now, the images of clear skies overhead, and clear water in Venice showed that things can quickly change for a better environmental outcome. Ms Maria Vassilakou, Vienna Solutions draws from her previous experience as Vice Mayor of Vienna, and now an independent advisor on urban transformations, to describe what makes a city liveable.

Ms Vassilakou serves as a member of the EU-Horizon Mission experts board on “Climate-neutral smart Cities” advising the European Commission on the design and implementation of the respective mission aiming at 100 European climate-neutral cities by 2030.

People reported feeling exposed to greater risk of infection on public transport during the pandemic, and during the lockdowns, these systems were running at less than full capacity. Will this change now people look towards ‘returning to normal?’

Mr Peter Massini, Director of Future Nature Consulting Ltd, UK, presents an overview of greening metrics that are used in policy development, discussing some of the challenges and drawbacks and how effective they are in practice. For the past 10 years, he has led on green infrastructure and natural environment policy for the Greater London Authority.

Empowerment is a strong tool, and the green recovery needs a powerful voice. Ms Jennifer McKelvie, Councillor for the City of Toronto, Canada, gives insights from her experience in inspiring the next generation of climate leaders through the C40 Women for Climate mentorship programme. This programme builds upon the City of Toronto’s commitment to fight climate change, as participants work on self-initiated projects that align with TransformTO and the Resilience Strategy. Launched in 2017, TransformTO lays out a set of long-term, low-carbon goals to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions. The Resilience Strategy sets out a vision, goals, and actions to help Toronto survive, adapt, and thrive in the face of any challenge, particularly climate change.

Prof. Tim Beatley, the founder of Biophilic Cities, USA, explains the power of community in making cities more nature focussed, and the influence of biophilia in inspiring change.

Ms Ingrid Coetzee, Director of Biodiversity, Nature & Health for ICLEI Africa describes the organisation’s projects on mainstreaming nature, its benefits, and nature-based solutions into urban planning and decision-making in cities and city regions thereby helping them become healthier, and more resilient and liveable places.

Dr Audrey Timm, Technical Advisor to AIPH announces our latest update of the AIPH 2020 Green City Guidelines – a digital resource providing evidence that supports innovative policy and practice in green cities.

Ms Anne Jaluzot, UK, delivers a case study of Barcelona, the city which changed traffic patterns, replacing roadways with living green, thereby increasing social interactions, and reducing pollution.

Mr Niek Roozen, the founder of Niek Roozen Landscapes bv, Netherlands, introduces the power of plant selection in dominating landscape performance, using Almere as a case study for motivating plant selection linked to function, and the multi-functionality of urban greening.

Dr Andrew Hirons, Senior Lecturer in Arboriculture at Myerscough College, UK, explains the science of tree selection for city landscapes, and how essential this is to creating resilience in our urban forests.

AIPH Green City Chair, Mr Bill Hardy, Canada, will bring the focus onto the AIPH Green City initiative and how the content of this conference programme integrates with the AIPH vision as the world’s champion for the power of plants.

AIPH presents the Champions of Green Cities

Launching at the AIPH 2021 Green City conference is the AIPH World Green City Awards which celebrate cities that show leadership and innovation in bringing more living green into their city.

The ongoing impact of safety measures against coronavirus means that rather than a physical international conference, the event will operate using the multi-faceted Hopin platform to host this online international conference, where delegates from around the world can meet in real-time.

Register free-of-charge for the AIPH Green City conference to hear from city leaders worldwide and find out how your city can enter the AIPH World Green City Awards.

AIPH is grateful to our World Green City Award Partners Biophilic Cities, Cities and Health, The Nature of Cities, Trees For Cities and Urban Land Institute. Our Event Partner ICLEI and our Media Partners China Flowers & Horticulture, FloraCulture International, HostCity and Pod Oslonami PL.

Rachel Wakefield

Communications Executive and Associate Editor
United Kingdom