Cologne: 06.–08.09.2020 #spogagafa

For more green in the cities

09-Dec-2019

It is especially apparent in nice weather: urban greenery has not only an ecological, but also a social value. – Photo: DGS

It is especially apparent in nice weather: urban greenery has not only an ecological, but also a social value. – Photo: DGS

The next storm or another hot summer can't be stopped, but we can ensure that our cities are better prepared for them in future. Many organisations and initiatives are currently campaigning for this.

When cities arise today in the Far East and in the Arabian region, they are planned with a high degree of ecological sophistication. They acquire their power supply from renewable sources, are autarkic and have many parks and gardens. In Europe, however, it is not so much new design on the agenda, but rather the reorganisation of existing metropolises. This is because the heat periods expected in the context of climate change will primarily impact metropolitan areas.

Planners are already being called upon now to reduce the heat stress on the population.

Peter Menke
DIE GRÜNE STADT (The green city)

"Planners are already being called upon now to reduce the heat stress on the population", according to Peter Menke from the DIE GRÜNE STADT (The green city) foundation. "The expansion of fresh air swaths through a loosened up manner of building and more green and water areas are becoming increasingly important. In the existing building stock, facade and roof greening, the planting of trees or the unsealing of squares and streets can also contribute to a reduction of the temperature increase in the metropolises." The predicted heavy rain events also already require greater efforts now to master the impending masses of water in the future. "Very densely built and sealed areas prevent rainwater from trickling away, and thus quickly lead to rapid surface run-off. The consequences: overloading of the sewer system and flooding. This problem of urban climatology can also be approached with more green spaces in the metropolitan areas", Menke explains. "Urban green spaces are today no longer simply decorative, but instead increasingly perform important tasks in the interest of quality of life in the city."

It is especially apparent in nice weather: urban greenery has not only an ecological, but also a social value. – Photo: DGS

It is especially apparent in nice weather: urban greenery has not only an ecological, but also a social value. – Photo: DGS

In addition to the classic nature conservation organisations, which have long been committed to more greenery and species diversity in urban spaces, there have been other initiatives and organisations that have been concerning themselves with the theme for some time now. For example, with the matter of which types of trees are recommendable for the city of the future. Which ones can deal well with longer dry periods and are less vulnerable to new diseases and pests? Some specialist circles are also developing ideas for how municipalities can afford the necessary investment and maintenance costs for green areas despite small budgets.

Trees in cities contribute in a variety of ways to making life in the city more pleasant and attractive. – Photo: DGS

Trees in cities contribute in a variety of ways to making life in the city more pleasant and attractive. – Photo: DGS

Here an overview:

The "DIE GRÜNE STADT" foundation was founded in 2009 from the forum of the same name, in which various organisations and associations were involved. It offers cities and municipalities, companies, organisations and citizens information on open space and green themes. The spectrum extends from urban climatology through biodiversity to health and quality of life. The goal is to make decision makers conscious that green spaces for new developments and refurbishing in cities should be a fixed component of planning. More information: die-gruene-stadt.de

The "Grün in die Stadt" (Greenery in the city) initiative is sponsored by the federal association for the building of gardens, landscaping and sports fields (BGL). It works to inform municipal decision makers of which sponsorship programmes are available in this field, and which ones are suitable for their upcoming regional projects. This is because the federal government provides considerable funding for urban development each year. There is also support from the European Union and from funding banks like the reconstruction loan corporation (KfW) for the qualification of green spaces. More information: gruen-in-die-stadt.de

Urban green spaces are today no longer simply decorative, but instead increasingly perform important tasks in the interest of quality of life in the city.

Peter Menke
DIE GRÜNE STADT (The green city)

The theme of of green cities has also increasingly found its way onto the political agenda for several years now. A highlight of this development was the "Grün in der Stadt - Für eine lebenswerte Zukunft" (Greenery in the city - For a future worth living) congress organised in Essen in 2017 by the Federal Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The "White Paper Green City" presented there can be understood as a definition of the position of the federal government. It encompasses a total of ten fields of activity and many concrete measures of the federal government for the securing and qualification of green and open spaces. With it, the federal government has provided a work order for the coming years with regard to how it can support cities and municipalities in strengthening urban greenery through integrated and sustainable urban development. More information: gruen-in-der-stadt.de

Trees in cities contribute in a variety of ways to making life in the city more pleasant and attractive. – Photo: DGS

Trees in cities contribute in a variety of ways to making life in the city more pleasant and attractive. – Photo: DGS

The "Green Cities for a Sustainable Europe" initiative was called to life by the European Nurserystock Association (ENA), as well as by European nurserystock organisations and associations from Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, France, the UK and the Netherlands. They also want to inspire municipal decision makers, urban planners, landscape architects, as well as gardeners and landscapers to green urban development with targeted campaigns. The initiative is sponsored by the CHAFEA (Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency) of the European Commission. More information: de.thegreencity.eu

In 2012, 60 municipalities, cities and rural districts from throughout Germany came together to form the "Municipalities for biological diversity" federation. The federation reinforces the importance of nature in the immediate living environment of people and shifts the focus to the protection of biological diversity in the municipalities. It serves the municipalities as a forum for an exchange of information and provides them with assistance with public relations. Continuing training offerings for administrative employees and joint actions and projects are also on the agenda. More information: kommbio.de

In the existing building stock, facade and roof greening can also contribute to a reduction of the temperature increase in the metropolises. – Photo: Zinco

In the existing building stock, facade and roof greening can also contribute to a reduction of the temperature increase in the metropolises. – Photo: Zinco

Author: Roland Moers

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