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The Rewilding of Our Cities and Urban Spaces

Urbanisation is entering a new era and a transformation that will see a ‘rewilding’ of the urban landscape that, when created, will benefit people, place, and planet.

As temperatures across the globe reach record highs, towns and cities everywhere are turning ‘green’ as city planners and governments search for innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprint caused, by greenhouse gas emissions, (GHG) so they can halt rising temperatures.

Everywhere we look, capital cities are changing. The once congested streets of the past are gradually becoming quieter, calmer spaces where residents and tourists alike are invited to discover their inner beauty by bike or public transport.

The Via Verde or Green Way in Mexico is the brainchild of architect Fernando Ortiz Monasterio who after gaining national support, has installed vertical gardens on the columns that support the elevated section of the highly congested Anillo Periférico, the capital’s outer ring road.

In fact, residents in many cities are hanging up their keys and turning their back on the car recognising that it, like many of the things we now take for granted, is not about freedom as such, but far more about consumerism and our ‘must-have’ modern-day lives.

Madrid is a city on a mission and one that is leading the way when it comes to its green agenda. It has put sustainability at the heart of its urban agenda so the natural world will play a pivotal role in its success.

In Paris for example, Spanish born mayor, Anne Hidalgo is not just looking to take action against the ‘car’ to help reduce the cities’ pollution problem and curb carbon emissions, she is also urging Parisians to take up the urban gardening challenge with her innovative ‘permis de vegaliser’.

This green permit that gives Parisians the right to grow plants and harvest crops on any free plot of urban land. Parisian residents can apply for the ‘green’ permit that grants them a three-year renewable permit to garden in their neighbourhood, this ‘green’ remit includes the creation of rooftop gardens, bee-friendly spaces and vertical living walls.

A bold directive, and one that has attracted its fair share of critics. But all over the city, tiny green spaces are appearing and these magical, micro gardens now form part of a wider package that will see Paris transform its streets and urban spaces into eco-friendly landscapes that have far-reaching benefits, not just for its residents, but the world.

This green revolution may still be in its infancy but what is apparent is this utopian view is here to stay and capital cities everywhere are embracing the opportunity to become greener, cleaner spaces. With bus shelter roofs donning plant-friendly habitats and swathes of vertical green walls being used to clean the air along the most congested of highways, providing a welcome reduction in both pollution and noise.

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