Arup concept provides ‘visionary’ approach to green infrastructure

Central Scotland set to embrace innovative greening plan

Central Scotland could be set to adopt an innovative approach to greening its urban areas.

The ‘Cities Alive’ approach advocated by Arup could see the region embracing ideas used in New York’s High Line and the Promenade Plantee in Paris, where obsolete structures have been given a new purpose through the retrofitting of green infrastructure.

The Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) is keen to transform the country’s central belt ‘into a place where the environment adds value to the economy and where people’s lives are enriched by its quality,’ says Arup.

Arup director Tom Armour was keynote speaker at the recent CSGN Forum ‘Changing Our Cities and Towns – Changing Lives’ and is also one of the main authors of ‘Cities Alive’, which sets out a vision ‘where the power of nature can be used to address issues of rapidly urbanising populations and deteriorating climate, as well as reducing transport and energy costs’.

In explaining the importance of this approach for Scotland, he notes that global research has shown the wide social, economic and environmental benefits of green infrastructure, and argues that it should be an essential partner in the planning and design of cities and urban environments. ‘Given the importance of green infrastructure for people’s health and wellbeing, it should have the same status as other services like waste, energy and transport and be planned, designed and managed as these resources are for people,’ he adds.

CSGN chair Keith Geddes is keen for Central Scotland to benefit from the Cities Alive approach. ‘At CSGN we are focused on implementing schemes of all scales from larger initiatives through to small projects that add up to a greater whole,’ he says.’ Every street tree, living wall or living roof will all help bring nature back into our towns and cities. It would be fantastic if town centre managers and Business Improvement Districts in Scotland could adopt some of Arup’s ideas.’

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