02 May 2023
Habib Khan writes: Cities around the world are adopting green infrastructure policies and plans that promote the use of things based on nature.
Green infrastructure has the potential to help build climate resilience for cities.
However, challenges remain, such as lack of funding and poor awareness of the importance of ongoing maintenance. Having at least two years of maintenance on green infrastructure projects planned in any project, to help get the tree planting established, is key to the long-term success of the projects.
At Meristem Design, we are on a mission to bring more trees into our urban centers. We have worked with local governments to turn urban centers into desirable destinations for people to visit and socialize. Last year alone, we installed more than 1,000 potted plants, 120 roadside parks, 700 SuDS (sustainable drainage) planters and 2,000 square meters of rain gardens.
We help transform residential areas from high-traffic streets into low-carbon neighborhoods using potted plants, mini parks and rain gardens, trees, green roofs, green walls, domestic pollution screens and SuDS solutions.
Incorporating urban greenery into the design and management of the built environment can enhance resilience to the effects of climate change, such as floods, heat waves and droughts. Research also shows that green infrastructure, including small parks, can increase the revenue of local businesses by 30% in the first year.
One of the key benefits of green infrastructure is its ability to reduce the urban heat island effect, whereby urban areas have higher temperatures than surrounding rural areas due to the absorption and retention of heat by buildings and hard surfaces.
Green infrastructure can mitigate this impact by providing shade, transpiration (where water is moved from the soil into the atmosphere by evaporation from soil and other surfaces, and transpiration from plants). objects) and cooling through natural processes. Green roofs and walls absorb solar radiation and reduce heat gain in buildings, while trees and vegetation can shade sidewalks, streets, and buildings and provide cooling through evapotranspiration. .
Another benefit of green infrastructure is its ability to reduce the risk and severity of urban flooding, which is becoming a common problem in built-up urban areas. Interventions such as the SuDS program that capture and store stormwater can prevent flooding and improve water quality. Our SuDS rain gardens and planters are examples of green infrastructure practices that can reduce stormwater runoff and promote infiltration, thereby reducing the load on urban drainage systems.
In addition to these benefits, green infrastructure also provides positive environmental impacts such as carbon sequestration, air purification, and biodiversity conservation. Trees and vegetation can absorb and store carbon dioxide, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. They can also filter pollutants from the air, improving air quality and human health.
Furthermore, green infrastructure can provide habitat for wildlife and enhance biodiversity, which can have a positive impact on ecosystem functioning and human welfare.
Habib Khan is the founder and director of Meristem Design.
He will participate in climate resilience panel at Liveable Neighborhoods 2023