More than development. Norwalk redevelopment.

Urban Greenery

The high density that defines urban areas inevitably results in a tension between the natural environment and that which is man-made. Typically, the man-made environment triumphs resulting in vast swaths of concrete without a flower or tree in sight. But fortunately for those of us focused on downtown areas, the growing phenomenon of urban greenery is finding a way to take root in the functional elements of a city (think: buildings, streets, sidewalks…) bringing with it the aesthetic and ecological benefits of natural vegetation.

Urban greenery can mean everything from city parks and traditional streetscaping, like trees and planters, to more modern adaptations, like green roofs and bioswales. As the examples on this Tumblr site show, the sky is the limit in terms of creative ways to integrate plant life into urban spaces.

There are countless ways that Urban Greenery can improve our urban areas. The most obvious benefit, of course, is more beautiful cities! But beyond aesthetics, urban greenery (and its cousin, sustainable design) has been shown to result in cleaner air, safer neighborhoods, improved storm water management, and benefits to the local economy.

Strategically-chosen, and well-matched vegetation provides a sense of consistency…a sense that where you’re going is in someway connected to where you’ve been. To get an idea of what this might look like, check out how the trees in the following picture create a feeling of continuity that extends well beyond just this block.

As you see here, urban greenery can be used to link one block to the next and one neighborhood to another. Trees, flowers and other plants can be woven throughout the downtown to give the area an overall feeling of a consistent urban fabric. Urban greenery can be used as a tool to help trademark Norwalk’s downtown area, distinguishing it from surrounding neighborhoods and highlighting its unique character. This approach would be even more effective when done in conjunction with other connectivity strategies such as wayfinding, heritage tourism and streetscape design.

The presence of trees and other plants tends to make for “human-scale” streets, which encourage walking and biking making this strategy especially compatible with the walking and bicycling strategies.