Big Transformation - 7 Ways Towns and Cities Are Turning From Grey to Green

The UN predicts two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050. While the move towards urbanization cannot be reversed, many cities are finding ways to improve the quality of city life and actively bring wildlife back into cities.
These are seven stand-out examples of how cities are learning to nurture plants and wildlife. Indeed, this is a real future.

- The UK’s wildlife-friendly housing development: an $107m housing development in southeast England, which includes 2,450 new homes, is deliberately courting more wildlife. 

-China’s ‘Forest City’:the Chinese government is building a new city where all the buildings – including schools, offices, homes and hospitals – will be covered in over 40,000 trees and 1 million plants. The Forest City is in the mountainous region of Guangxi in southern China and is due to be completed by 2020

-Italy’s library of trees: a new library in the heart of Milan’s grey business district will be full of trees and plants rather than books. In total there will be 450 trees from 19 species, plus 90,000 plants including hedges, shrubs and climbers. 

- The USA’s urban tree canopy: Baltimore is on a mission to plant enough trees to achieve its goal of 40% urban tree canopy. Tree planting is happening in neighbourhoods with few existing trees and 4,000 new trees have been planted since the scheme began.

- Australia’s 100m high vertical garden: the $1.5bn development called One Central Park in Sydney is designed to improve the quality of high-rise living through greenery and redirected sunshine. The towers are covered in plants but also reflect light in their lower levels with a huge cantilevered panel of mirrors.

- France’s factory conversion: A former Renault factory in the northern French city of Boulogne has become a school specially designed to encourage flora and fauna. The building has a green roof that is allowed to slope down so that it extends to every level of the school.

- Canada’s green roofs: Toronto was the first city in North America to pass a bylaw requiring commercial, institutional and residential developments over a certain size to install green roofs. A green roof includes a root repellent system, a drainage system, and plants growing on a waterproof membrane.


 

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