Urban forests to regenerate cities by Renato Ferretti

14 Ιουλίου, 2019
Urban forests and green infrastructures in cities can play a very important role for improving quality of life. In fact, it has long been known that they offer a number of valuable benefits to the population as they provide vital services such as absorbing CO2, filtering particulate and atmospheric pollutants, draining and conserving rainwater, counteracting urban heat islands, improving both aesthetic and perceptive quality, and supplying recreational areas. At Flormart 2019 you will find technical solutions and products for creating parks and gardens as well as urban and peri-urban forests.

All over the world a large number of cities have undertaken challenging initiatives of urban reforestation. At the 2018 World Forum on Urban Forests, held in Mantova (Italy) last November, various paths and experiences differing in size, structure and culture were presented. These all shared the same choice to enhance green infrastructures with the aim of strengthening social cohesion and moving towards a fair and sustainable development.

According to FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, “well-managed forests and trees in and around cities provide habitats, food and protection for many plants and animals and, therefore, they contribute to maintaining and increasing biodiversity”.

“The Forestry Department is committed to combating deforestation because the most important issue is to ensure a source of livelihood to populations that depend on forests” added Assistant-Director General of the Department Hiroto Mitsugi. “This aspect concerns not only all inhabitants of rural areas but also the city people since trees provide water, improve air quality and contribute to a healthy environment”.

Cities are more and more unhealthy due to CO2 emissions, fine powders, polluting agents and the almost unbearable summer heat. It has been proven that forests absorb 40% of fossil fuel emissions: that is why urban and peri-urban forestry must become a priority on the international agenda of governments and both local and international institutions.

A radical change is needed in the way we act: the number of green areas and small parks must be increased, trees must be planted to create ecological corridors, green buildings, or even vertical green buildings, must be built. These initiatives would have an impact not only on the quality of air and climate, but also on the economic development of the cities themselves as they would boost micro-agriculture and food production in order to counteract poverty.

Investing in urban greenery is particularly effective and efficient even from an economic point of view because it ensures a reduction in different kinds of expenditures such as cooling of buildings, land maintenance and hydro-geological resilience.

By combating air pollution, plants enable a reduction in public health expenditure while public parks and green spaces offer opportunities for meeting and socialising. It’s about nature-based solutions (nbs) to issues such as energy consumption, water consumption and urban heating.