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Green Imprints: Mending the Scars on the Earth

Coming from a large urban area to the countryside is quite a culture shock, and I know from firsthand experience how much of a visual adjustment it takes to realize the difference between these worlds. However, if you have never experienced that moment, let me be the first to tell you it changes not just the way you see space but the way you interpret nature and color. I think back on my childhood, as I ran through mediocre sized yards, which can hardly compare to the vast fields with cows, and horses I see every day now and wonder if I knew how beautiful it was just outside the bleak greyness of the city. Do not get me wrong urban areas boom with electric energy and culture in every direction but lack in different areas. Urban areas are typically missing nature – a vital component of life in my opinion. Cities which were meant to have been technologically advanced and a treasure to behold, now seem more like a scar on the earth. Why is that?

The reason is because figuratively and physically it is a scar. Our society knocks down nature to build “urban or concrete jungles” for housing that’s more efficient, but at what cost? Why does it either have to be cost effective or sustainable? Where is the middle ground? There are plenty of ecological design solutions available today which provide ongoing benefits to developers, cities, and residents alike.

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A passive solar home design reduces energy consumption and costs. Image via EcoHome.net

Infusing Green Into Urban Surroundings

There are a few ways these urban areas can infuse green into their roots:

1. Green Roofs

2. Blue or Green Infrastructure

3. Passive Solar Energy

4. Living Walls

These are all concepts that have been around for some time. However, how often do we consider building with nature and natural elements? The concept of ecological design is intriguing but not innovative enough. Seeing as how much of the land we’ve populated has already become overrun with  buildings and development, erasing the prestige of nature around it, we need to be more versatile in our methods of creating green cities.

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Green roofs restore nature back into our urban surroundings. Image via EBSConsultants.com

Rethinking the Image of Urban

There are often abandoned buildings in each city that have become a place of dissolution. It’s a shame to lose that space to the clutter we’ve created. Instead I propose we demolish these buildings and recycle as much of the materials as possible before properly disposing of the waste. In this new space, we can create community gardens. The idea of a community garden although not new is more resourceful in this sense because it’s not just a vacant lot. It was a building contributing nothing positive the environment. Taking advantage of these camouflaged opportunities in cities could help create a more connected version of urban life and nature.

Other Ways of Mending Urban Settings

There are many ways to revitalize our urban settings. Some other ways include:

1. Lowering public transportation costs and increasing accessibility. This approach persuades others to use transit more often than their own car, which in return cuts down on C02 emissions.

2. Installing solar panels in urban areas, both privately and by the city. Switching to partial alternative energy provision helps lower the use of fossil fuels as well as the residents’ energy costs.

3. Expanding and advertising the bike sharing communities so that the awareness and accessibility grows and attracts more users.

There are all sorts of ecological design alternatives in creating a greener city; some small, others larger but all for the better of our environment. If you have an idea you think could help change the way we consider the urban image I encourage you to share it. The more ideas there are out there about creating a sustainable environment the better. #greenimprints 

Feature Image: Urban living balanced with nature. Image Via EnergyDigital.

About The Author

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is a undergrad student who has been studying architecture for over four years, first at Pratt Institute and now at UCF. Sustainability is important to her as a designer because architects greatly influence the environment through building and construction. It's vital for her to understand what the current issues are and how we can go about improving them. Her motto is "We can't create innovation without knowing what has already been done".