Some 92% of people in Ireland think that green spaces in our towns and cities are important, with 46% of those saying that space for leisure and recreation is the most important benefit. That is according to new research published to mark the More Green Cities for Europe seminar, hosted by the Irish Hardy Nursery Stock Association and Bord Bia on Friday 11th of November. The research, conducted by Amárach Research, also found that half of those surveyed (50%) believe that there are not enough green spaces in their nearest town / city.
According to the research, supporting biodiversity and natural habitats was cited as the second most important benefit of urban green spaces (25%), while mitigating climate change (tree cover, cooling) was cited in third place (11%). Social reasons made up the rest of the top five responses, with 7% saying that green spaces improved social cohesion by allowing people from different backgrounds to interact, and 4% said they encourage pride in one’s local community.
Supported by funding from the European Commission, More Green Cities for Europe aims to highlight the importance of green areas in minimising the consequences of climate change, while raising awareness of the wider benefits green space can offer for human wellbeing, biodiversity, social cohesion and the economy. The campaign targets national and local decision-makers, planners, developers, architects and other sectoral professionals with a view to increasing investment in, and commitment to, the greening of public urban areas. In Ireland, the initiative aims to increase the proportion of green landscaping in building projects, while encouraging the use of locally grown planting stock.
Supporting the initiative, Chairman of the Irish Hardy Nursery Stock Association, Val Farrell said that urban greening using native Irish stock is a win-win situation. He added; “The amenity horticulture sector is worth over €77 million to the national economy. Supporting local growers in rural areas brings many advantages for planners and developers. Local growers have expertise on the type of stock that is better suited to our Irish climate. Planners and developers can see, touch and smell the stock before making decisions, which will determine the success of their projects. Sourcing stock locally reduces our carbon footprint when transporting stock, the case for greening is clear, as is the case for buying Irish. This is supported by new research we commissioned from Amárach Research.”
Sector Manager, Horticulture at Bord Bia, Michal Slawski, said: “Conceived as a solution to mitigate the effects of climate change and increasing urbanisation, More Green Cities for Europe is a timely, urgent and welcome initiative from the European Nursery Stock Association in conjunction with the European Commission. Bord Bia is committed to assisting Ireland’s amenity sector in making our towns and cities better places to live and work in, through increased green planting that is grown and sold here in Ireland. It is clear from our research that this is what the public wants.
“We all have a responsibility to try to safeguard Ireland’s natural and urban environments for future generations. To this end, I would strongly encourage all those who have a decisive role in city planning, landscape planning, and building design and construction to engage with the More Green Cities for Europe campaign to see what ideas, information and expertise it can offer to support them in this endeavour.”
Award-winning landscape architect Martí Franch Battlori, who is a finalist in the European Prize for Urban Public Space, gave the keynote address at the More Green Cities for Europe seminar. He is the founding manager of Estudi Martí Franch, an international, interdisciplinary research-led practice in the field of urban and environmental design, based in Girona, Spain. Les Moore, Head of Parks, Biodiversity and Landscape Services joined him at Dublin City Council, along with Ronan Nangle, owner of Nangle and Nielsen Wholesale Nursery in Co Cork.
For more information visit, Ireland’s More Green Cities for Europe page and follow More Green Cities for Europe on LinkedIn.