Cities of the future
According to GMG’s report, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. With such a dense urban population, people will be longing for nature. Cities must continue to create and preserve urban forests and parks. Developers and businesses should provide tranquil, plant-filled environments.
Researchers from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology identified a new kind of neighborhood that attracts newcomers to cities, the Central Recreational District (CRD). A CRD is defined by the prevalence of parks, historic places, landmarks and tourist destinations.
CRDs result in 16% higher housing prices, show 10% growth in population and jobs, and attract 3% more college graduates.
Similarly, America In Bloom launched a new self-assessment program, Growing Vibrant Communities. It measures a community’s commitment and progress in vitality, flowers, landscapes, urban forestry,environmental efforts, heritage and overall impression. (americainbloom.org)
In the home
Houseplants are having a moment, and there’s no indication that sales of indoor plants are going to slow down. In fact, houseplants are becoming a way for people to connect outside of the home.
Houseplants reduce stress, enhance creativity and connect people with nature. As younger generations find themselves with less space, time and money, they are turning to indoor plants for the benefits. Known as “plant parents,” they are driving indoor plant sales and the category is seeing a greater percentage of growth than other nursery and greenhouse crops, according to the report.
Education will drive more growth and green industry players who educate consumers will win. Create opportunities for plant parents to attend or watch educational events.
Plant swaps or meet and greets connect consumers through plants and education. With affinity groups including plants in their meetups, this is an opportunity to attract a new audience to brands or stores.
Trees are a best management strategy for controlling stormwater runoff, urban heat island mitigation and reducing air pollution. Jim Zwack from Davey Tree is quoted in the report, “A well-canopied city is a cost-effective strategy to improving communities’ health, resiliency and economy.”
Growers who provide plants for green infrastructure will find their place in the cities of the future.
“Green infrastructure and horticulture combine to create desirable cities in which to live,” says Debbie Hamrick, director of specialty crops at the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation. “We need to know how to propagate, grow and maintain [plants] in an urbanized environment. Not every plant will work. We need an army of ecological landscape practitioners steeped in horticulture and ecological land stewardship. And, they need to be valued, demanded (or mandated) and supported in their work.”
With the changing demographics, architects, designers, urban planners and politicians will reimagine how green environments are designed in cities. Regulation will frame changes to highway buffer zones, urban forestry, green roofs, pollinator habitat, community gardens and new parks.
Green businesses are the ambassadors of change by educating people and decision makers about doing their part.