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Greening the urban footprint

The most common forms of urban greening are trees, parks, and green spaces like pocket parks. Their benefits include lessening air and noise pollution, soaking up rainwater that may otherwise cause flooding and creating habitats for local wildlife. But it’s not only parks and trees that can do this. Consider the expanse of a large apartment complex its brick, concrete and glass exterior reflecting a significant amount of heat back into its surrounding, particularly in the summer. With this in mind, architects and city planners alike have been exploring ways to design green infrastructure into buildings.

Emphasis is now on including urban greening and green spaces not only in current buildings, but also in future projects. Green infrastructure like living walls and green roofs are becoming increasingly popular and are featured in more businesses, public buildings and residential areas. By employing urban greening, these buildings contribute more to the environment and the people using it. A living wall or tree-lined path exponentially increases a site’s positive environmental impact. They pump vast amounts of oxygen into the air around them, as well as absorbing equally vast amounts of carbon dioxide that would otherwise harm the people nearby. Of course, installations like living walls also help wildlife, with videos of birds living in them reminding us that we share the world with other creatures that need a place to live too! Integrating nature into grey urban areas brings beauty and a sense of calm, which can be difficult to find in a bustling city.

Temperature reduction is also fast becoming a high priority for many international cities, as heat waves have led to hundreds if not thousands of deaths. These heat waves have been researched as so severe because of the urban heat island effect due to heightened temperatures in urban areas from human activity and energy use. And so cooling the urban environment has become an important tool in combatting climate change. And you as an apartment dweller can also have an impact, if every building façade included balconies or terraces full of plants, this would have a major impact on its heat footprint along with all the other benefits this brings. Cities have seen the effects that climate change has on its population, wildlife, and landscape, and many now intend to fight it. Urban greening is a smart way to include greenery into our least environmentally friendly areas, and could be the way forward for eco-conscious societies.

Arugula and silverbeet

How to get more arugula into your daily diet, as it’s rich in Vitamins C, K and calcium, and has iron, folate, magnesium and Vitamin A.

  • Add a handful of fresh arugula to an omelet or scramble
  • Throw a handful of arugula and blend into a fresh juice or smoothie
  • Sauté arugula in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Eat as a side dish or top a baked potato
  • Add arugula leaves to a wrap, sandwich, or flatbread

Here are some excellent ways to add Silverbeet to your diet:

  • Sauté it with coconut oil and add it to scrambled eggs
  • Use it in hearty soups and stews
  • Add it to a mixed green salad
  • Toss a few leaves of it into your favorite smoothie
  • Rub the leaves with olive oil and salt, and then bake to make chips
  • Sauté with garlic and olive oil for a tasty side dish
  • Use it in place of basil when making homemade pesto
  • Toss wilted into pasta dishes
  • Pickle its stems for a crunchy snack
  • Blend fresh Silverbeet with hummus for a tasty, nutritious dip
  • Stuff chicken breast with Silverbeet and goat cheese
  • Top pizza crust with Silverbeet, mozzarella and tomatoes
  • Toss it into your favorite frittata