Adding Green to the City Landscape
I have recently had the opportunity to travel more than usual and I am acutely aware of differences amongst major cities especially in regard to sustainability and green space.
It is obvious that growth within large cities is challenging when physical space is limited and at a premium. Buildings are higher and closer to together. Roadways are more intensive, adding bike lanes and areas for safe pedestrian traffic.
Governments, municipalities and designers are focused now on including sustainable practices and products into their areas. The future of the environment is a concern and the health of the world is important as we look towards a legacy for our children.
LEED design is a growing focus. Energy efficiency, building envelope design, recycling trash and water efficiency are all very important components of today’s designs.
Increasing Green Space in the City
The next obvious step is to increase the green space especially within densely populated urban centres. Many North American cities have embraced green roofs and the change is noticeable.
Green spaces and natural areas are often calm and grounding to most people. There is more and more evidence that increasing the green space available has positive impacts on cognitive development, mental health, and longevity. The tranquility of green spaces especially within urban centres is appreciated by all as a respite from the busy, high paced days.
From areas high above the ground, windows in sky scrapers, green roofs are noticeable and lend a widely appreciated beauty within the “concrete jungle”. Green roofs are often used as an escape for workers and residents who can often use the areas during rest breaks. For others, the green spaces provide the hope of the future; signs of rebirth, of nature, of rest and relaxation.
How “Greening” Can Benefit other Areas
Other more traditionally sealed areas can benefit from “greening” as well. Such areas include laneways, parking lots and pathways. Research has shown that crime within green spaces is lower than similar concrete areas. Cities have embraced green laneways as a means to reduce crime, and they have been measurably successful.
Pathways, especially throughout nature areas, can be greened allowing these areas to seamlessly blend into the natural environment. Green pathways are an environmentally sensitive alternative, keeping the ground healthy by reducing pollutants associated with traditional paving methods. Plastic porous grid systems such as the Ecoraster system can be used to reinforce nature paths easily, ensuring the surface remains level, stable, safe and universally accessible; allowing everyone, even those with mobility challenges a chance to enjoy nature.
Parking lots are realistically the next step in embracing full sustainability. Alternative permeable paving methods such as the Ecoraster porous grid system are not only a reliable method of paving, they are durable and offer a much longer lasting life cycle than traditional methods. When discussing sustainability, it is very important to note that a true sustainable depends on life cycle as well. There are many different permeable paving products available depending on the application and the budget. Systems such as Ecoraster can also be filled with grass and sedum type products to bring new meaning to “green” parking.
In today’s society everything is disposable. It is easier to buy a “new one” than it is to repair the “old one”. Anything that is purchased is not expected to last very long and up until now, that included paving products.
How Ecoraster can Help
The Ecoraster system which has been successfully used for over two decades in all different types of climates offers a paving alternative that is truly sustainable. This “green” paving and ground reinforcement product offers a 20-year warranty and is able to be used with the heaviest of access vehicles and for constant use. Added bonus with the Ecoraster system is that it will eliminate storm water run off, solve surface drainage issues, reduce the road salt usage greatly, eliminate the need for costly sewer and drainage infrastructure and it can be either reused or recycled if the land usage changes. Customers that have included Ecoraster into their projects are very please with the faster than expected return on investment and the positive and exemplary manner in which they are viewed for embracing such technologies.
Green paving will immediately affect the visual impact of the landscape and even small areas incorporating products such as Ecoraster will be noticed and appreciated immediately. Green parking areas have a cooling and calming effect. Such green areas help to quiet the surroundings bringing a peace to an otherwise bustling world.
Green permeable parking, paving and ground reinforcement is the next natural step to take when embracing sustainability and “Green-building”.