Mere hearing the word “green” creates a picture of vegetation in the mind. The colour green signifies growth and prosperity. And nothing grows and prospers as do grasses, shrubs, and trees. Sadly, humans began to lose their sense of green when deforestation became almost an everyday event. We needed to build more shelters to accommodate our growing numbers. Other infrastructures such as roads, rail tracks, schools, stadiums, factories, arenas, airports, etc, meant that the greenish appearance of our immediate environments will disappear. Then as global warming and climate change became a subject in the headlines humans suddenly reconsidered what has been lost.
We are now clamouring for a change in attitude. Beyond its attachment to food, a sense of green promises less carbon present in the atmosphere which then implies cleaner air to breathe. But how to incorporate a green life into our ever concrete and glassy cities is a new challenge to the architects, town planners, and environmentalists. A green habitat can easily paint an image of farming/agriculture in the mind. As such, it has become common to hear of terms such as urban farming, vertical farming, agritecture, etc. But is the call to have a green city a desire to move farming or agriculture to the cities? Not the case.
“Why a green city? A green city improves the environment, ensures rich biodiversity, reduces air pollution, ensures water storage, dampens noise, and helps cooling down in warm periods. Green is also essential for a climate-proof and sustainable environment. In addition, there is a positive effect on the health and social connections of people living, working, and recreating in a green environment.” (https://www.wur.nl/en/Dossiers/file/Greenery-in-the-city.html). From the foregoing, we can appreciate why our cities ought to have some leaves clapping when the wind blows.
Having sustainable cities should be central to urban development. We can’t afford to continue having cities that only generate revenue to fund the government’s treasury without deep considerations to the health of the dwellers. Since most cities are densely populated it is required of the authorities to prioritise cleaner environments. We need to introduce eco-friendly legislation in the real estate sector. Residential properties must have trees in them. Cities should be well planned to coordinate waste management activities. Public buildings must be built with environmentally friendly components – this opens the door to more scientific and engineering research.
We can see a similar approach to research on electric cars. Such innovations can be achieved. A sustainable city can only happen through a green city project. The change may take time to arrive but this is the future.