Unlocking Urban Potential: Transforming Wasted Spaces into Green Zone
Urban designers play a key role in converting unused areas into greener, more sustainable areas. To create vibrant and environmentally responsible urban settings, they bring their skills in planning, design, and the fusion of numerous aspects. Some key contributions that urban designers can make are Site Analysis and Assessment, Conceptualization and Design Development, Green Infrastructure Integration, Community Engagement and Stakeholder Collaboration which can help and contribute to repurpose unused places using an interdisciplinary approach. Through their experience, they may develop ground-breaking, environmentally friendly, and human-centered designs that improve urban living, advance environmental wellbeing, and contribute to a more sustainable and resilient future.
In a time when protecting the environment is of utmost importance, the idea of repurposing unused space into sustainable and greener areas has received an increasing amount of attention. These empty places, whether they be vacant lots, underutilized rooftops, or overlooked urban nooks, have a huge potential to help build a more sustainable and environmentally friendly world. We can revitalize our cities, increase biodiversity, slow down climate change, and boost community quality of life by redesigning and repurposing such regions. As ‘Jane Jacobs’ rightly says that “New ideas must use old buildings”.
Green spaces are frequently sacrificed in urban settings due to space constraints caused by expanding populations and infrastructure requirements. However, we can change things for the better by rethinking our urban environments and discovering underutilized or unused locations. Urban farms or community gardens can be established on vacant properties to increase local food production, access to fresh vegetables, and sense of community.
Unused areas have the potential to aid in the fight against climate change. We can improve carbon sequestration and lessen the consequences of greenhouse gas emissions by turning vacant lands into urban forests or tree groves. The heat island effect reduces and the quality of the air is improved by trees and other vegetation that absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Natural insulation from green roofs and rooftop gardens reduces the need for energy-intensive cooling and heating systems. Creating sustainable and greener zones out of unused space can also have positive socioeconomic effects. The establishment and upkeep of these locations with input from the community fosters a sense of pride and ownership. Creating community gardens can increase food security and offer chances for learning and skill development. It has been demonstrated that having more green areas makes people feel better and contributes to happier, healthier communities.
The High Line in New York City, on the West side of Manhattan is one successful example of converting unused space into a sustainable and environmentally friendly area. The High Line was constructed over a former freight train line. Urban designers, landscape architects, and community organisations all worked together on it.
The High Line’s transformation has had a lot of positive effects. It has regenerated the neighborhood, attracted investment, and increased real estate values. The park, which provides recreational activities and expansive vistas of the city, has grown to be a well-liked tourist and local magnet. Additionally, it has reduced congestion and promoted a walkable urban environment by enhancing connection and pedestrian circulation in the neighborhood.
A more resilient and ecologically friendly future can be created by converting unused space into sustainable and greener areas. We can increase biodiversity, mitigate climate change, enhance community well-being, and advance sustainable development by utilising the power of these underutilised places.
Image Sources: Design Boom
The High Line:
The official website of the High Line: https://www.thehighline.org/
Hammond, R., & David, D. (2012). The High Line. New York: Friends of the High Line.
Urban Design and Sustainability:
Calthorpe, P., & Fulton, W. (2016). The Regional City: Planning for the End of Sprawl. Island Press.
Cervero, R. (2017). Urban Design for an Urban Century: Placemaking for People. Island Press.
Gehl, J. (2010). Cities for People. Island Press.
Sustainable Urban Design and Green Infrastructure:
Benedict, M. A., & McMahon, E. T. (2006). Green Infrastructure: Linking Landscapes and Communities. Island Press.
Cabezas, A. L., & Agudelo-Vera, C. M. (2017). Handbook of Research on Social, Economic, and Environmental Sustainability in the Development of Smart Cities. IGI Global.