Prompted by a new vitality for reconsidering how city centre streets can be used, particularly Baldwin street in Bristol as shown in our previous post, we have the strategic function and purpose of green infrastructre at the fore in our minds currently. As green infrastructure covers such a broad and diverse mixture of applications and can be used in many situations, we have found it interesting to think through a series of perspectives on green infrastructure, from different areas of landscape architecture practice across scales. Lets raise awareness of what green infrastructure is, and what it can achieve!
New development provides opportunities to support retrofit green infrastructure projects, by funding the implementation of green routes and public open space with the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). Responding to existing mapped deficits will help a new development connect to its surrounding community.
Green routes and spaces create a pleasant urban environment which results in people using their public spaces more, bringing people together and helping to build community. Using Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments to fund green routes and spaces – instead of highways – can achieve this.
Green routes are key for people to comfortably access the city centre on foot or by bicycle, more important than ever as we return to our city centres whilst avoiding public transport.
Green routes also provide habitat corridors and support biodiversity and wildlife by allowing animals, birds and insects to move between wider open spaces. Our wildlife is often trapped in isolated havens, green corridors help to link these patches into a habitat network.
Disused railway lines repurposed as cycle routes are popular and important connections in many places, we can create the same wide arterial routes by repurposing roads as cycleways, removing tarmac to plant avenues of tree.
Organic growth stemming from low key urban interventions creates an energy for change. Investing in pedestrian access and green routes encourages small businesses, such as cafes, cycle repair shops, florists and veg growing initiatives to blossom in areas of cheaper rent along rejuvenated links.
Slower, more engaged commuting, through walking and cycling, allows people to take more notice of their neighbourhood and starts to build a better community by fostering a sense of place and enabling chance encounters.
Slowing down and taking notice of your surroundings is as good as meditation, be present in your daily commute by observing seasonal changes. Walking is found by many to improve their mental health.
Walking reduces stress by lowering cortisol level, this increases our ability to process thoughts and ideas. Routes that enable people to walk to work support productivity and a happy working environment too.
Looking for opportunities to meet people? Start walking to work. Slowing down and being outside allows you to speak to other pedestrians, smile and engage from a safe distance! It’s good for mental health too.
Time spent in green space is good for you! It increases oxygen levels, reduces stress and promotes wellbeing. Healthy cities are full of open spaces that allow easy access to nature.
Green links reduce pollution by making cycling and walking a more pleasant experience, promoting active transport. On top of that, trees filter pollutants and clean the air, whilst SUDs can limit the amount of pollutants from road water runoff washing downstream.
Daily access to green space will help combat Nature Deficit Disorder, a term used to describe people, especially children, who have very low levels of contact with nature. Familiarity with natural environments helps to foster an affinity with the natural world and increase care and respect for the environment.
Nature is a playground, a walk or cycle ride in a green environment presents many opportunities to play. If that access becomes daily commuting to school all the better!