1 May 2024

City Greening is essential for urban development and addresses environmental, social, and economic challenges in emerging and growing urban areas.

City Greening initiatives support biodiversity, improve air quality, regulate temperatures, and manage stormwater. Socially, it enhances well-being, fosters community interaction, and provides recreational opportunities. On top of the environmental and health benefits, evidence suggests that City Greening provides a wide range of economic benefits including increased property values, tourism attraction, and reduces costs associated with climate control.

Implementing City Greening principles early in the site planning process optimises design solutions, fostering the creation of sustainable, resilient, healthy, and liveable urban environments. This not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of developments but also streamlines approvals and ultimately elevates property values.

Implementing City Greening principles early in the site planning process optimises design solutions, fostering the creation of sustainable, resilient, healthy, and liveable urban environments.

Matt Franzmann — Director, Design

While policies and regulations are essential to guide and promote a City Greening agenda, the detailed application of guidelines often falters due to the dominance and inflexibility of engineering constraints. Adopting a City Greening-first approach encourages our teams to challenge the status quo and define solutions that champion the thoughtful integration of vegetation, open spaces, and water management strategies. This approach enhances biodiversity, mitigates the urban heat island effect, improves air quality, and creates enjoyable public spaces.

Considerations for Multidisciplinary Coordination in the Public Realm

Highlighting the critical importance of synergising various disciplines in urban planning and design is essential when emphasising the prioritisation of green infrastructure. Through insightful analysis and practical considerations, our teams can provide a comprehensive guide for professionals involved in the creation and enhancement of public spaces, promoting a holistic and sustainable approach to urban development.

Exploring the significance of multidisciplinary collaboration is essential in ensuring a cohesive and integrated approach to shaping the public realm. This involves uniting diverse disciplines such as town planning, landscape architecture, environmental science, and civil engineering. Such collaboration is crucial in advocating for the incorporation of green infrastructure as a foundational element in urban design. This priority not only emphasises sustainable practices and biodiversity enhancement but also plays a key role in mitigating the effects of urban heat islands.

The early integration of green infrastructure into the overall planning and design process is another critical strategy. This approach considers factors like walkability, accessibility, and aesthetics to enhance both the functionality and appeal of public spaces. In parallel, building environmental resilience within the public realm requires coordinated efforts. These efforts should address climate change adaptation, effective water management, and the creation of resilient urban ecosystems, ensuring that cities can withstand environmental stresses.

Stakeholder engagement and community involvement are paramount in the coordination process. Engaging local stakeholders and communities ensures that public spaces not only meet diverse needs and preferences but also foster a sense of ownership and connectedness among residents. Additionally, showcasing real-world case studies and best practices that illustrate successful instances of multidisciplinary coordination in public space development can be instrumental. These examples highlight how effectively green infrastructure can be prioritised and integrated.

It is vital to offer practical policy recommendations for policymakers and planners. These recommendations should aim to create supportive frameworks that incentivise and facilitate multidisciplinary coordination, with a particular emphasis on green infrastructure as a critical component for creating sustainable and resilient public realms. Through these comprehensive approaches, urban spaces can be transformed into more sustainable, functional, and inviting environments for all.

City Greening approaches need to be tailored to a locality to maximise the positive social, environmental, and economic benefits, while ensuring they are practical to implement and embrace the community's values.

Suzie Turner — Associate Director, Economics & Planning

Water is Life: Strategies for Thriving Green Infrastructure and Enhances Biodiversity 

Understanding the delicate balance between water management, thriving green infrastructure, and enhanced biodiversity within urban landscapes is becoming critical in designing for our urban environments. As landscape architects, our mission is to underscore the pivotal role of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) in fostering sustainable and resilient cities.

In the face of escalating urbanisation and climate challenges, integrating Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) with City Greening practices is not just beneficial but essential. The combination of these strategies forms a cornerstone of sustainable urban development, addressing critical water management issues while fostering urban biodiversity and enhancing ecological resilience.

WSUD is not merely a set of engineering solutions; it’s a holistic approach that blends water management seamlessly with urban development. Its core lies in creating systems that mimic natural water cycles, reducing pollution and improving water quality through innovative solutions like biofiltration systems, rain gardens, and permeable pavements. These elements are integral to City Greening initiatives, which extend beyond beautification to include the creation of functional, sustainable urban ecosystems.

The synergy between WSUD and green infrastructure is evident as they work together to mitigate environmental impacts such as urban heat islands. By incorporating green roofs, walls, and tree-lined streets into urban planning, cities can lower temperatures and improve air quality, making urban environments more liveable and reducing the health impacts of urban heat. Moreover, these green spaces provide critical habitats, create biodiversity corridors, and promote the coexistence of native flora and fauna within the urban matrix, enhancing ecological diversity and resilience.

Policy frameworks also need to support the integration of WSUD principles and green infrastructure in urban planning. Policies that incentivise sustainable water management and green development can drive the widespread adoption of these practices, ensuring long-term sustainability and resilience of urban areas.

It is essential to continue exploring emerging trends and innovations in WSUD and City Greening. The future of urban design lies in these integrative approaches that not only address current environmental and urban challenges but also anticipate and adapt to future conditions. By embedding WSUD and green infrastructure principles early in urban planning processes, we can ensure the development of sustainable, healthy, and thriving urban environments. This strategic integration is crucial for transforming urban landscapes into more sustainable and vibrant ecosystems, securing a resilient future for cities worldwide.