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AIPH webinar to showcase benefits of city greening

Photo: Akil Mazumder.

Environmental, health and economic benefits of green roofs and walls have been recognised across the globe

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Horticulture

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3 June 2021 | 0

An international webinar showcasing the benefits of city greening is set to take place 15 June.

As the environmental, health and economic benefits of green roofs and walls are recognised across the globe, cities are integrating green infrastructure to both solve sustainability issues and create a greener future.

The upcoming webinar, titled ‘Green Roofs and Walls’, is the third climate action topic in the series of City of London Green City Briefings. It will be presented by the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH), in collaboration with the Worshipful Company of Gardeners.

The free, one-hour briefing will explore how green roofs and walls provide an extra-dimensional approach to city greening.

With introductions from Daniela Rizzi, senior officer for nature-based solutions and biodiversity at ICLEI Europe, the briefing will hear from Dusty Gedge, president of the Federation of European Green Roofs and Walls, and Kelvin Kan, principal architect and facade consultant and founder of AgFacadesign.

Global uptake in creating a greener and wilder urban environment is having a positive impact on climate change, urban cooling, sustainable water management, air quality, noise reduction, biodiversity, and general health and wellbeing in cities – and this is now recognised by The World Health Organisation. With a body of evidence available to quantify the benefits, policymakers and decision-makers can confidently advocate projects to include green roofs and walls.

In his talk, Dusty Gedge will draw on his experience in London, UK, as a designer, policy maker, and technical advisor to demonstrate how green roofs and walls are the future of cities. He will show why and how vegetation on buildings can make a significant contribution to climate adaptation, sustainability, and biodiversity. And, how the environmental performance of soil and vegetation should be our starting point as we retrofit and build our way out of the climate emergency.

“In the past, and still today, vegetation and soil has been seen as an aesthetic contribution to the city environment. However, to meet the challenges of the climate and biodiversity crisis greening cities should be first and foremost about performance across a whole range of environmental factors – biodiversity, cooling, storing rainwater in intense summer storms, and reduction of noise and air pollution,” said Gedge. “Finally, once these functions have been realised, cities need to ensure that such green spaces enhance the mental and physical health of the citizens who have access to them.”

While aesthetics will play a significant part in this, Gedge says green interventions need to take into account the resilience of such green spaces as the climate changes. “All this can be achieved at roof level whether a simple meadow or a rooftop park. Green roofs should be seen as core infrastructure and not just as a good thing to have from an aesthetic point of view.”

Kelvin Kan will take the conversation further, explaining about green facades and how building construction can accommodate these. Sharing two examples in Singapore, Kan will share his personal experience on how greenery was incorporated and what the benefits of this greening are to occupants of the building and the developers. To encourage and assist private owners of property in Singapore to incorporate green development, the city does include incentives to help fund initiatives. This leads to question on who should control the design, and Kelvin addresses this for both retrofitting buildings as well as new construction.

Questions taken from an audience covering more than 40 countries will be put to the speakers, with Daniela Rizzi leading the conversation to explore global adoption of green roofs and walls.  The series of City of London Green City Briefings encourage an open exchange of ideas and activities that enable and support global city resilience.

The webinar will run from 13:00-14:00 BST, 15 June. To register, visit: aiph.org/event/green-city-briefings-water-attenuation/

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