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Ecosystem Services Come To Town: Greening Cities by Working with Nature




Ecosystem Services Come To Town: Greening Cities by Working with Nature

Gary Grant

ISBN: 978-1-405-19506-5 August 2012 Wiley-Blackwell 238 Pages

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The need to find new approaches to the development of cities is becoming increasingly urgent in this age of continuing population growth, demographic transition, climate change, fossil fuel peak and biodiversity losses. Restoring ecosystem services and promoting biodiversity is essential to sustainable development – even in the built environment.

Ecosystem Services come to Town: greening cities by working with nature demonstrates how to make urban environments greener. It starts by explaining how, by mimicking nature and deliberately creating habitats to provide ecosystem services, cities can become more efficient and more pleasant to live in.  The history of cities and city planning is covered with the impacts of industrial urban development described, as well as the contemporary concerns of biodiversity loss, peak oil and climate change.

The later sections offer solutions to the challenges of sustainable urban development by describing and explaining a whole range of approaches and interventions, beginning at the regional scale with strategic green infrastructure, looking at districts and precincts, with trees, parks and rain gardens and ending with single buildings, including with green roofs and living walls.

Technical enough to be valuable to practitioners but still readable and inspirational, this guide demonstrates to town planners, urban designers, architects, engineers, landscape architects how to make cities more liveable.

About the Author xi

Acknowledgement xiii

1. Introduction 1

Modern Cities and the Disconnected 1

Population Spike 2

Limits to Growth 3

Global Threats 3

Ecosystem Services and Stewardship 4

Greening Cities is Necessary 5

Hope 5

2. Origins of Cities 7

Why Look Back? 7

Emergence of the Human Species 7

Great Leap Forward 8

Agriculture and Permanent Settlements 8

Agriculture Around the World 10

Agriculture Intensifies 11

Empires Rise and Fall in Mesopotamia 12

Nile Valley 12

Indus Valley 13

Ancient China 13

Ancient Greece 14

On the Ganges 15

Rome 16

The Moche 16

Mesoamerica 17

Fortified Centres of Administration 17

European Renaissance 18

Early Modern 19

Squalor 21

3. Modern Cities 23

Origins of the Modern City 23

Industrial Revolution 23

Railways 24

Rapid Growth 25

Ill Health 26

Distinctive New Districts Emerge 27

Paris Re-born 28

Railways and Suburbs 29

Planning and Zoning 29

Garden Cities 29

Motor Vehicles Herald in the Oil Age 31

A Humane Outlook 32

Going Up 33

Continued Rise of the Motor Vehicle 33

Decline of the Inner City 34

New Towns 35

City Plans 36

An Unfinished Task 37

4. Issues Facing Contemporary Cities 39

Impacts of Cities and City Living 39

Habitat Loss 40

Habitat Fragmentation 41

Impacts on Soil 41

The Water Cycle 42

Water-borne Pollution 44

Urban Heat Islands 44

Air Pollution 45

Noise 46

Light Pollution 47

Agricultural Land Take 47

Concrete 48

Steel 48

Glass 49

Timber 49

Waste 49

Drivers of Population Growth 50

Peak Oil 52

Peak Phosphorus 52

Post Oil 53

5. Working with Nature 55

Ecology and Ecosystems 55

Born Free 56

Saving the Great Lakes 56

Earth Summit, Ecosystem Assessment and Ecosystem Services 58

Cities as Part of the Biosphere 59

Ecological Restoration 59

Urban Wildlife 60

Green Infrastructure 60

Sustainable Sites Initiative 61

Advice from Professional Bodies and Others 61

Mimic Nature 62

Working with Nature Works 63

6. Urban Nature 65

Open Space Preservation 65

The Naturalists 66

Nature Leaves the City? 66

Urban Nature Returns 68

Wildlife Gardens 69

Encapsulated Countryside 70

Bukit Timah 71

The Urban Forest 72

Urban Wastelands 73

Canvey Wick 74

Emscher Park 75

Urban Farming 76

Biodiversity Action Plans 77

River Corridors 78

London’s South Bank 79

Minneapolis Riverfront 79

7. Water and Cities 81

Fresh Clean Water – Essential and Increasingly Scarce 81

Civilisation has Modified the Water Cycle 82

Water Consumption 82

Embodied Carbon 82

Virtual Water 83

Catchment Management 84

Rainwater Harvesting 84

Grey Water 85

Sustainable Urban Drainage 85

Water Sensitive Urban Design 86

Rain Gardens 86

The Streets are Changing 86

Ponds 88

Potsdamer Platz 89

River Restoration 89

The Cheonggyecheon River 90

Singapore 91

Water and Urban Heat Islands 93

Towards the Water Sensitive City 93

8. City-wide Greening 95

Bioregions 95

Catchment Management for Clean Water 96

Catchment Management for Ecosystem Services 97

Regional Green Infrastructure Plans 99

Biomass and the Bioregion 99

Regional Ecological Networks 100

Community Forests 101

Green Belts 101

Green Grids 103

Transport 103

Urban Heat Islands 105

Blue Networks 105

Masterplanning 107

Regional Plans, Local Implementation 107

9. Greening Neighbourhoods and Buildings 111

Sense of Neighbourhood 111

Living Streets 112

Standardising the Neighbourhood 113

Design Your Own Park 113

A Phoenix Rises 114

Growing Their Own 115

Learning from Squatter Settlements 116

Rain Gardens 117

They Paved Paradise 118

Clapton Park Estate 118

People of the Trees 119

Tree Pits 120

Tree Trenches 121

No Space? 122

Energy Efficient Buildings 123

Water Efficiency 123

Autonomy 123

Building-integrated Vegetation 124

A Coat for Buildings 124

Value of Shade 125

Living Walls 126

Cooling Effect of Green Roofs 128

Green Roofs, Rainwater Attenuation and Cooling 129

Green Roofs Need the Right Substrate 130

Green Roofs for Biodiversity 130

London’s Black Redstart Roofs 131

Biodiverse Green Roofs in North America 132

Roof Gardens for People 133

Worldwide Applications 133

Wildlife and Buildings 134

Rooftop Harvests 136

10. Conclusion 137

Interesting Times 137

The Positives 138

Cities and Citizens Take the Initiative 138

Greening Requires Greenery 140


I: award winning projects from IHDC website 141

II: useful resources 177

Notes and References 197

Index 209

“The book can be a useful supplemental resource for students in urban studies, offering many wonderful ideas and a general sense of optimism. Summing Up: Recommended. All academic, professional, and large public libraries.”  (Choice, 1 August 2013)