Urbanization results in an increasing proportion of the population living in cities. Urban living limits access to nature and can increase exposure to certain environmental hazards, such as air and noise pollution. Many urban areas face increasing pressure from expanding populations, limited resources and growing impacts of climate change. These challenges must be addressed in order for cities to provide healthy and sustainable living environments. Green spaces and other nature-based solutions offer innovative approaches to increase the quality of urban settings, enhance local resilience and promote sustainable lifestyles, improving both the health and the well-being of urban residents. Parks, playgrounds or vegetation in public and private places are a central component of these approaches
The need for urban green spaces
- Aside from utilising a large amount of natural resources, our cities emit over 70% of all greenhouse emissions. The rapid rate of urbanisation will exacerbate this situation in the coming years.
- Trees in megacities might save roughly $500 million per year in services such as environmental protection, making urban surroundings cleaner, more inexpensive, and more enjoyable places to live.
- Green spaces in cities and towns provide psychological relaxation, stress reduction, physical activities, and decrease of climate-related vagaries such as pollution, heat waves, and so on, in addition to different ecosystem services and public health advantages.
- One of the three interconnected themes of the New Urban Agenda agreed at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in 2016 was ensuring environmental sustainability.
- The significance of green space has also been emphasised in Self Development Goal 11, which deals with sustainable cities and communities, in order to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
- Green space and other nature-based solutions are critical components in the creation of cities that are sustainable, resilient, and inclusive. The WHO recommends a per capita green space of nine square metres, as well as access to public green areas within 300 m linear distance or a five-minute walk from urban inhabitants’ homes.
- The FSI Report 2021 saw an overall increase of 68 square kilometres in the previous ten years in terms of decadal change in forest cover in seven megacities.
- Except for Hyderabad(‘Telangana Ku Harithaaharam’ program), all megacities saw weak decadal growth.
- Only Hyderabad has witnessed a decadal rise in per capita forest cover from 4.3 to 8.2 square met, which is close to the ideal green cover of 9 square met.
- Corrective efforts are needed to enhance the low per capita forest cover in some cities.
- Citizens’ lack of concern, along with institutional leniency in strictly enforcing legislation pertaining to the preservation of green cover, exacerbates an already dire situation.
- Furthermore, activities such as infill construction and redevelopment of property, along with the real estate boom and increasing land values, constantly compel a person to choose economic advantages above green space.
- One of the key difficulties impacting urban green space is the fast loss and fragmentation of both public and private green space as a result of densification-induced activities.
- These characteristics, along with a lack of critical governmental support, priority, and finances, render urban green space challenges irrelevant and ineffective.
- A reexamination of these elements may aid in reorienting our urban planning and management approach to accommodate the green vision and activity.
- Environmental requirements, including green space, must be strictly enforced by user agencies, with no exceptions.
- Nature-based solutions, which are 50% less expensive than grey alternatives and provide 28% more environmental advantages, must be included into future urban development.
- Adopting Cecil Konijnendijk’s (3-30-300) rule for a greener, better, and more biophilic environment in our cities (global urban forester, researcher, teacher, writer, and speaker). It requires that everyone be able to view at least three trees from their home, that each neighbourhood have 30 percent canopy cover, and that the nearest park in a city be no more than 300 metres away.
- This, together with multi-stakeholder participation, proper financial resources, and institutional support, will enhance urban governance and refocus our urban planning and management approach.
How to structure
- Give an intro about urban green spaces
- Explain in detail
- Explain how it creates a balance between development and environment
- Mention challenges and write way forward