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Fifty shades of green, or why we should live in a luxuriant urban oasis
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Fifty shades of green, or why we should live in a luxuriant urban oasis

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Session 19 Paper 4, University College London, 16-17 April 2015

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Many people believe that increasing the amount of foliage, trees and soft landscaping in our cities would prove useful environmentally, economically and socially. A whole host of specific benefits of green urban environments have been proposed, including urban heat island mitigation, stormwater management, air pollution reduction, enriched biodiversity, improved ecosystem services, and food production. It has been argued that using natural infrastructure is a less complex route to these ends than the standard approaches.

This paper outlines a critical appraisal of the science and reasoning behind these cited benefits of greening cities. It is an initial skirmish with the issues, to begin the process of understanding which of them really work, to what extent, and how they might be applied in urban environments.