Restoration of wildlife in cities increases resilience to climate change. What to do to speed up this process?

    30 Oct 2021

    Previous urban planning decisions, such as the priority of the car, have led to the emergence of cities, which are usually separated from nature, in addition to individual parks.

    The creation of vertical forests, landscaping, and ecological buildings, and other similar measures help strengthen the resilience of cities to climate change, improve biodiversity, and even lift the spirits, Bloomberg states.

    In Milan, near the central train station, two towers stand out among the brick buildings called Bosco Verticale. There is greenery on each floor of the buildings. About 900 trees, 5,000 bushes, and 11,000 grass paths have been planted here. The complex, also known as the “Vertical Forest,” was designed by architects Stefano Boeri, Gianandrea Barreca, and Giovanni La Varra.

    Boeri is working on similar projects in Antwerp, Belgium, and Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Bosco Verticale is an example of the latest urban renaissance and the growing global trend to return nature to the urban environment.

    The US Forest Service estimates that more than 2,428 hectares of open undeveloped land are being built up every day. Urban planning decisions, such as the priority of the car, have led to the emergence of cities, which, in addition to individual parks, are usually separated from nature.

    The concept of rewilding (restoration and protection of natural processes and wildlife) tends to intersect with related concepts such as restoration and reclamation. Landing Landscape Studio is convinced that the renovated spaces should not (or almost should not) need maintenance – just like forests or swamps. Architects cite examples of The High Line Park in New York on the site of an abandoned railway or the German Mauerpark, built on the site where part of the Berlin Wall was.

    According to architect and professor Steffen Lehmann, nature restoration can help solve three problems: biodiversity loss (return of butterflies, insects, birds, are usually separated from nature and wildlife), urban heating (shade and greenery provide coolness), and resilience to climate change (trees absorb carbon).

    The potential for rewilding to mitigate climate change is a significant benefit, the researchers said. According to them, according to the concept of rewilding, stormwater systems in many cities are poorly equipped. In China, for example, Turenscape, a landscape architecture firm, has been building city parks for more than a decade that “properly” protects against stormwater. They use soils and plants that act like a sponge. For example, the park on the outskirts of Harbin is designed in such a way that embankments and ponds in the degraded water areas of the area direct stormwater into the adjacent aquifer.

    In addition, rewilding affects the condition of people. According to several studies, being in nature or even just among the greenery helps calm down and improve the mood. For example, spending more than two hours a week in green areas positively affects well-being. Another study showed that postoperative patients in wards with open-air windows recover faster.

    According to experts, the obstacles to the spread of this concept are “common cultural aesthetic preferences in landscape care,” as well as the lack of political will.



    You may read our author’s opinion about ecosystem services and how parks and forests save your money here.

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