During the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800s to early 1900s, the value of nature was underestimated. Miles upon miles, and uncounted acres of land were paved over to make way for man and his concrete and steel buildings. But now, 100 years past the peak of the Industrial Revolution, we are learning the value of greenery and living plants in the overall health of cities. More and more, plants in the city are claiming a significant part of the modern city landscape.
Planters Urbanize Nature
In urban areas, it has been decades since any green thing has been seen. But, cities have learned the value of living plants to the ecosystem. Now, in most cities, you will find planters full of all kinds of flowering and brushy plants. Drought tolerant plants refresh and cleanse the air without requiring frequent watering. The textures, colors, and movement of plants in concrete and steel areas create a more welcoming atmosphere, taking the hard edges off of man-made architecture.
In many cities, the government is turning abandoned buildings and empty lots back into nature. By taking responsibility for demolishing condemned buildings and clearing the lots, the city then can turn the lot over to horticultural groups for the establishment of “postage stamp parks”. These tiny parks provide a welcome oasis that members of the neighborhoods can enjoy. A single Cathedral Oak can shade the entire lot, bringing songbirds back into the city and providing shelter for squirrels, as well. Mimosa trees in large planters add a lacy touch that brings grace and delicacy to the landscape.
Hibiscus, Bougainvillea, petunias, and many other brilliantly flowering plants now grace the roofs of many city buildings. Rooftop gardens are more common now than ever before. While you need to make sure your building construction can support the weight of planters, soil, plants, and the water for the plants, creating a garden on the roof is one of the best ways to reduce the heat emissions in your neighborhood. With the variety of planters available in today’s market, you can create your own little rural park right in the middle of the city.
One of the overall effects of all of this landscaping is that cities have a lower heat footprint. All of the pavement and hard construction reflect heat into the atmosphere, reducing rainfall amounts. By adding green, living plants back into the landscape, the heat footprint is eventually reduced.
Some of the healthiest cities in the world have incorporated planting into their landscapes at every opportunity. Sydney, Australia, Stockholm, Sweden, And Vancouver, Canada, all have miles upon miles of walking and biking trails that encourage people to use something besides motor vehicles to commute. These trails, for the most part, are all landscaped, creating a shady, rural atmosphere as they meander throughout urban and suburban areas. These trails, planters and plant pots, parks, and gardens all cleanse the air, produce oxygen, and raise the ambient humidity of the cityscape.