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Arup outline vision for greener global cities

International architecture and engineering practice Arup have published a report declaring city planners around the world must do more to create green urban environments that promote the health and wellbeing of residents.

The studio has produced a set of guidelines outlining how planners, architects and designers can tackle issues such as climate change, extreme weather events, drought, air pollution and loss of wildlife, particularly in the public realm.

The report, titled ‘Madrid + Nature', focuses on how officials and planners in the Spanish capital have integrated green initiatives into the built environment by planting greenery on walls and rooftops and creating areas of urban forest to improve the lives of residents and visitors.

“It is clear that increasing tree cover and providing greener streets and spaces are key elements of green networks, and have positive effects on the economic and social cohesion of neighbourhoods,” said Tom Armour, Landscape Architecture group leader at Arup.

“Greenery encourages people to pursue healthier lifestyles; leading to an increased sense of community belonging.”

The report states that designers and decision-makers around the world should work together to create, protect and restore urban forests and water features to keep cities cool, clean and biodiverse, helping to promote wellbeing among the population.

“As cities face increasing population density and shortage of space at ground level, green urban infrastructure is a way to protect buildings from thermal fluctuations and extreme weather,” said Susana Saiz from Arup’s Sustainability and Energy team.

“Research in the field has demonstrated the potential of green roofs and urban forests as a strategy for adapting urban ecosystems to the impacts of climate change. Temperature reductions up to 4.5 °C over the summer were reported in areas of Madrid where these strategies have been implemented.”

Following the recent trend of architects re-imagining abandoned spaces as new public realms – such as Nikken Sekkei’s plans for Singapore’s abandoned rail corridor and RAAD Studio’s ambitious underground Lowline project in New York's old trolley tunnels – Arup is calling on more architects, including those in Madrid, to reinvigorate forgotten environments.

The report said “unused transport links, empty spaces, bridges or obsolete infrastructure should be transformed to provide natural habitats for wildlife and spaces for human enjoyment.”

The ‘Madrid + Nature’ report was published by Arup’s Landscape Architecture and Foresight + Research + Innovation teams, which identify and monitor the trends and issues likely to have a significant impact upon the built environment and society at large.

Other firms have also been taking the lead in changing the ways urban environments are designed. US wellness real estate developer Delos has formed a partnership with Chinese company Sino-Ocean Land to introduce its WELL Building Standards in China, and is also working on a wellness city in Tampa, Florida.

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International architecture and engineering practice Arup have published a report declaring city planners around the world must do more to create green urban environments that promote the health and wellbeing of residents. The studio has produced a set of guidelines outlining how planners, architects and designers can tackle issues such as climate change, extreme weather events, drought, air pollution and loss of wildlife, particularly in the public realm. The report,
Glass walls on buildings is one measure proposed by Arup / Arup
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