Green is best colour for cities

Blend of urbanisation and nature in Freiburg, Germany

Blend of urbanisation and nature in Freiburg, Germany

Cities that are designed, planned and built in conjunction with nature will be better equipped to handle climate change and can improve our health and wellbeing. This is the message from a team at the University of Portsmouth who are exploring the benefits of integrating nature back into the urban environment, known as ‘renaturing’ cities.

Building nature into urban planning will make cities more resistant to the effects of climate change and can even make us feel better, healthier and happier, according to Dr Fabiano Lemes, who specialises in urbanism and architecture. Dr Lemes said that because more and more people are living in urban centres, re-connecting cities with nature can not only improve our standards of living but also help the planet.

“City planning has to find ways to integrate the benefits we derive from nature, such as clean air and water, into our urban environments. For example, an integrative approach to greening cities means that these spaces can not only create more pleasant places to live and work, but also help enhance the residents’ physical and mental health, control floods, improve air quality and regulate the temperature of our cities.”

An 'ecoduct' over a motorway in Stockholm connecting the district of Hammarby Sjöstad to one of the city's green wedges.

An ‘ecoduct’ over a motorway in Stockholm connecting the district of Hammarby Sjöstad to one of the city’s green wedges.

Dr Lemes and colleagues have won funding to hold a conference to help find solutions to global societal problems by renaturing cities. The Newton Fund Researcher Links Workshop Grant will bring together researchers from the UK and Brazil to exchange knowledge and experiences and share best practice from cities around the globe. The results will offer valuable insight on how planners and policymakers can apply this knowledge to their cities and regions to generate real economic and social benefits.

The workshop will be organised in partnership with the Universidade Federal de Goiás and will take place in July 2017 in Goiânia, Brazil.

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