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How can we balance urbanisation with protecting the environment and quality of life?

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Author: Claudio Rosmino


By 2050 around 80% of the world's population will be living in urban areas. Currently, they occupy 3% of the Earth's surface but produce around 72% of greenhouse gases.


Growing urbanization along with climate change will have a serious impact on our life in cities in terms of air quality, warmer temperatures and higher flood risk. But solutions to reducing the environmental impact and improving people's quality of life has been found in nature.


Scientists working at the European project URBAN Green-Up in Valladolid, Spain are testing Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) that could allow sustainable urban development.


Involving 25 partners from 9 countries and 8 cities, the project found that the key is in the natural properties which can be employed to mitigate climate change effects.


URBAN Green-Up project coordinator, Raúl Sánchez Francés, explains that some plants can work as a thermo-regulator and reduce the temperature of surroundings. "For that, we have solutions like green roofs, mobile vertical garden or green facades."


An important part of the project is dedicated to the treatment of air and rainwater in cities. Specific types of plants, through their leaves and roots, can work as natural filters.


"That solution is an urban biofilter," says Francés. "We used to call it green chimney. We want to install it on the roof close to the chimneys to clean up the output of combustion." "This system is able to mainly catch nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, the two main pollutants issued by vehicles and heating systems.


The potential of nature-based systems is significant.


Read the full article here.