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Green Space Benefitting Infrastructure

Green Space Benefitting Infrastructure

How can we make the most of our urban environment? Graham Cleary explores the benefits of green space..

Politicians from all parties are telling us what most of us all ready know; that we need better infrastructure to support and improve our standard of living. To be fair, some of this is now being delivered including some of the roads of national significance and the fibre rollout for fast broadband.

These are big dollar projects; NZTA’s Waterview alone is some $2 billion. The cost of broad band fibre rollout, another…billion.

We also see some ‘low hanging fruit’, projects that would deliver benefits far above their cost that are not as yet being widely considered, namely investing in green space.

Auckland is currently set on becoming “The World’s Most Liveable City”. Consider a city of similar population, Copenhagen. Did you know Copenhagen has more than double the green open space of Auckland, yet is arguably far more space constrained and considered “greener” by most!

Copenhagen’s urban plan demonstrates their city’s green fingers

If we actively fostered a similar scale of green space, we could achieve a number of far reaching and needed infrastructure goals through simple and effective green technology. Take for instance water quality, which as a city and a country we have been internationally embarrassed by in recent years, and rightly so.

Green space allows for detention and treatment of the “first flush” of storm water at a fraction of the cost of underground detention tanks or the cost of overwhelming our waste water systems. Imagine our beaches free from sewage pollution again? A vision cheaply achievable using green space and existing technology.

Then there are the added or “free” benefits of added habitat diversity for our flora and fauna, including bees and the pure joy of green space in the city. This would support New Zealand’s powerful but fading Clean Green brand. Studies from the US in particular show that neighbourhood parks support and enhance the value of the real estate around them; in New Zealand greener infrastructure would support the development and maintenance costs.

Not all infrastructure needs to cost the earth, but some can certainly play more than its part in helping to save it.

By Graham Cleary
Chief Rake
Natural Habitats
02 November, 2011

Well said Graham, New Zealand also has a fixation with drains and draining water away from land rather than allowing water to enter the soil – weird.

benefits that accrue from green space are multifaceted and widespread