Why Construction needs to focus on creating Green Spaces in urban areas

Green spaces Ellis Fox Blog

In terms of climate change, construction and specifically infrastructure, are facing a number of challenges. Aging infrastructure is proving to be less resilient to extreme weather events. Repairs and upgrades are costly, as are the disruptions to communities while these are undertaken.

There are many different solutions proposed, from using alternate materials to rethinking designs. And there’s value in all of these. But perhaps the most important is to reintroduce green spaces into cities. The reason for this is the broader benefits to communities and cities, of which we share a few:

Climate Resilience:

Because of the way cities have been constructed – using stone, steel, glass and concrete they really work against nature in terms of weather mitigation. Buildings have to be heated a cooled to keep them an ambient temperature is summer and winter. The resources traditionally used for this, namely gas and coal, only add to the problem by increasing carbon emissions.

There are a number of initiatives in Europe that are learning from nature to improve city environments. Green verges, with a combination of trees and smaller plants are helping to create shade and mitigate stormwater runoff. And they’re proving to be very effective, with the added bonus of providing habitats for birds and insects.

The lesson from this is that when infrastructure is being repaired or upgraded, it shouldn’t be with more of the same. If construction and infrastructure are going rebuild for greater climate resilience then it needs to work with nature, not against it.

Healthier Urban Environments

The busyness of cities can be thrilling but is also stressful. Because of this, there’s a growing trend where people are looking to move out of cities to places where they more easily access the natural environment.

Creating green spaces as part of construction projects within cities can provide residents with calming environments, where they’re able to destress. Not to mention the physical health benefits that green spaces provide – helping to reduce pollution and cool inner-city temperatures.

BNG Requirement

But even if construction firms aren’t overly interested in health benefits, there’s another reason to: The BNG regulation that requires a 10% biodiversity gain on projects. For decades biodiversity has been lost as a result of development, now it’s time to turn the tide. Designing in green spaces as part of the solution is a good start.