Urban Green Space: How can the Ecologist’s Voice be Heard?
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Urban Green Space: How can the Ecologist’s Voice be Heard?

Ecology is such an integral discipline in securing the long-term resilience and establishing a future urban landscape that recognises the centrality of nature in the heart of and periphery of our built environment.

Charlotte Markey, GreenBlue Urban’s Head of Strategic Partnerships and Public Relations, recently attended the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) Southwest Winter Seminar in Taunton and the event provided remarkable insight into the breadth and depth of what ecology as a discipline can bring to any discussion of green and blue infrastructure in our future towns and cities.

Dr Lincoln Garland kicked off by presenting two alternative visions of our future cities: low density, garden city revival or densification to ensure we can maximise the potential of our available land for development. Dr Garland argued that densification need not present a barrier to sustainability. At GreenBlue Urban we are also committed to the idea that when space is at a premium and we face increasing pressure to deliver more housing, densification, using the most effective retrofit solutions, can provide developments that have quality integrated green and blue infrastructure.

For example, the ArborFlow system and load-bearing soil support systems allow for flexible and innovative approaches to integrating SUDs / LID compatible tree pits in a variety of contexts. Root barriers and root directors that are resilient to long term degradation and are maintenance free post-installation, enable developers to reach biodiversity and floodwater management targets without costly post-installation maintenance from failed trees.

Gary Grant focused on the contribution of green and blue roofs to enhance biodiversity and increase efficiency of stormwater management across our built environment. The creative landscape architect and SUDs specialist Bob Bray with whom we worked on our flagship SUDs scheme, Goldhawk Road in Hammersmith and Fulham presented a colourful and inspirational account of how innovative SUDs schemes can provide a multitude of benefits for nature and humanity. He highlighted schemes that perfectly encapsulated the principles of water sensitive urban designs, integrating urban trees into the SUDs train and working in partnership with other specialists to ensure best outcomes.

A joint presentation by Simon Bates of the Exeter and East Devon Growth Point and Sarah Foque from East Devon Council, ably concluded the event, discussing the obstacles and sharp realities of implementing projects and ensuring that the initial conception and specification of designs can become a reality on the ground.

What was clear from the event was an increasing need for ecologists to work more closely with landscape architects, architects, planners and industry specialists such as GreenBlue Urban, to ensure that cost-effective and aesthetic solutions can be put forward to leave a lasting legacy for our future generations and for our natural environment.