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The importance of Urban Greening

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Our cities are growing and most of them are becoming large concrete jungles with metal and glass dominating the cityscape. Grasslands and wetlands are being replaced by high rise buildings and this is taking a toll on our ecosystem. The changing climate affects not just plants and animals but also our daily lives. The increase in the number of flooding events, heavy soil erosion, drought conditions and increased pollution are the biggest changes we have seen ever since we decided to favour concrete cover over green cover in our cities.

Urban Greening in the earlier times meant lining avenues and roads with trees and building parks for every community. While these activities might still be seen in pockets around the city, it isn't adequate to fight the climatic changes that reduced green cover has brought upon us.

Today Urban Greening means more than just parks and tree avenues. In its truest definition Urban Greening means, "public landscaping and urban forestry projects that create mutually beneficial relationships between city dwellers and their environments". It's a collective effort to create a society that wants to consciously care for their green cover. City planners, builders, architects and residents are all part of the plan to create and maintain green spaces. Buildings can easily employ urban greening methods and by doing so they can contribute to the environment.

Vegetation has a very positive impact on our society and communities. Green spaces generally tend to bring people out of their homes more and children tend to play outside as a preference instead of being cooped up at home. Green spaces also help in reducing stress levels thus promoting both mental and physical health. Patients are known to recover faster when they are in a greener environment. The presence of green areas nearby encourages residents to go cycling or walking or to work in their gardens, all of which help to improve their health. According to a study, a positive correlation exists between the amount of green in a person's living environment and that person's sense of safety. In highly urbanised locations, enclosed green spaces are felt to be unsafe and the design of green elements requires special attention.

Kinds of Urban Greening

Today there are several options for creating green spaces in the concrete jungles that we live in. They don't have to just be concentrated in parks but there are several spaces that can be adapted for Urban Greening, such as

  • Parks
  • Streets and Avenues
  • Rooftop gardens
  • Living walls
  • Balconies of apartments and condominiums
  • Terraces for cultivation of vegetables
  • Office spaces
  • Empty plots of land
  • Schools
Benefits of Urban Greening
  • Combat and reduce air pollution
  • Soaks Rainwater and prevents flooding
  • Increases the oxygen in circulation
  • Enhances the ecosystem for small animals and insects
  • Positive effect on mental health
  • Focuses on methods to battle climate changes
  • Creates eco-conscious societies

The efforts towards Urban Greening are underway in cities by creating living walls under the flyovers, transforming spaces that were used as garbage dumps and creating new mini forests in the cities. These efforts are still scattered but with a focused effort from the city planners and residents, this could be the new big change that could solve our green cover woes.

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