This year has been a challenge for all of us – wherever we are on the globe. In the GreenBlue Urban world, we have been very fortunate compared to many, but even we have faced significant hurdles as we continue to enable sustainable places and enjoyable spaces in our urban realm. When we look at the climatic changes we have experienced over the last 12 months, we are sobered when we think of those who have lost loved ones, property and their livelihoods in some of the most horrendous calamities that have occurred – we would include the January floods in Manchester UK, the heat waves across the world in the summer (including the complete loss of Lyttleton, Canada) The devastating floods in Europe, Hurricane Ida in September causing terrible floods in New York and the ongoing battle with bush fires in Australia. All of these point towards the need to adapt to climate change and plan for more resilient towns and cities.
GreenBlue Urban has continued to grow strongly in the market, thanks to years of commitment to research, development and innovation. Working with the EU Interreg “Cool Towns” initiative, enabling tree planting specifically designed to help mitigate against the urban heat island effect. With installations in a number of locations across Europe, measurements are being taken data analysed to help quantify how much water a tree can evapo-transpire, and therefore be used to be able to strategically plant trees where urban cooling is most required. It is this combination of green and blue infrastructure that is so effective in helping deal with our stormwater issues so effectively, as well as giving us better green infrastructure – and saving significant amounts of money.
The GreenBlue Urban range of helpful resources has continued throughout 2021, with the long-awaited revised Trees and Water Sensitive Water design publication being released in the early summer. This guide has been heralded as a further advance for specifiers and installers alike, including a wealth of information and data, helping demystify the whole green and blue sustainable drainage concept. To further assist, GreenBlue Urban launched two publications detailing how to model SuDS features in both MicroDrainage by Innovyze and Causeway flow software programs.
Throughout the year, GreenBlue Urban has continued its historic and valued education program. The CPD – or Lunch and Learn sessions – have benefited over 500 new listeners this year, with hundreds more joining our external webinars and the newly launched Festival of ideas – where invited guest speakers brilliantly gave their views on how we can effectively manage our green infrastructure to maximum advantage. GreenBlue Urban has continued working with colleges and universities to further spread the knowledge acquired – to the benefit of all. In-person conferences and events have been well received too, with presentations by GreenBlue Urban at the Flood Expo, Floodex and FutureScape, as well as many virtual events to include our partners at The Landscape Institute and Urban Design London.
GreenBlue Urban was proud to be shortlisted for 2 TechFest Awards relating to our Modular Raingarden the HydroPlanter!
One of the most interesting features of 2021 has been the international interest in the GreenBlue Urban methodologies for urban green establishment. This year we have collaborated with companies from Greece, Ukraine, Romania, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Israel, Malta, Croatia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Germany, in addition to our existing distribution partners. This interest is showing how the whole world is realising the multiple benefits and value of healthy green infrastructure in improving the quality of life for all those who live, work and play in these environments. The recent COP26 Conference has showcased how these necessary changes can be made, and whilst the final results from the conference may not have gone as far as many would have hoped, it does seem that tangible agreements have been made which can only be great for the environment.
So looking back on the last twelve months, what are GreenBlue Urban most proud of? That’s a difficult question – there have been so many highlights, but really overall, it is the continued success of trees that we helped plant 20 years ago in the original RootCell soil cell. 20 years of thriving, growing, and benefitting us all. The RootCell principle – recreating the forest floor soil cell below paved and trafficked hard surfacing – continues to be the proven best way to get a tree to maturity and to keep it healthy, and we are proud to be associated with some great projects this year, which we are sure we will be writing about in another 20 years – Sighthill in Glasgow, Lusail City in Qatar, Springfield Village in Surbiton UK, Barking Riverside in Essex, Hale Wharf in Tottenham to name but a few.
The GreenBlue Urban ethos of making green space and tree canopy cover for all has been echoed by the Government with the levelling up agenda, now many Local authorities are taking long term canopy cover seriously and considering the efforts below ground to achieve this and we look forward to healthier, greener and cleaner places available to everyone.
But that’s not all GreenBlue Urban continue to innovate and we have an exciting new year ahead with lot’s planned including our 30th Anniversary! Watch this space for new product offerings relating to GREEN, WATER, SMART SPACE and AIR, where we will continue to create healthier urban spaces in harmony with nature!
Here’s to 2022 – cheers!