Creating Sustainability With Pathway Materials

Updated on November 1, 2017

Urban Infrastructure

Threats in Urban Landscapes

Today's environmental issues are increasing because of the urban landscape. Poor infrastructure built in the industrial age did not consider the impact to the environment. While the approach was practical at the time, the planning is beginning to show deterioration in the surroundings. Environmental imbalances, pollution and deterioration are all coming to the forefront with the urbanization taking place. As municipalities and landscape specialists look into this problem, they are also raising questions regarding ways that these issues can be resolved.

Urban Heat Island Effect

A central issue that environmentalists have noted in urban infrastructure is the urban heat island effect (UHI). Building materials and hardscapes both have contributed to an increase in temperature in urban areas. Instead of balancing heat from the sun, UHI reflects and absorbs the heat, creating temperature increases. With little to no greenery in the surrounding areas, UHI continues to become a significant threat to those in urban areas. The impact of UHI has led to increases of temperature by 10 - 20% in most of the urban areas, with expected temperature changes that will continue to build in the future if the urban areas are not altered.

Urban Heat Island Effect

Overview of Urban Heat Island Effect
Overview of Urban Heat Island Effect

Vegetation and Greenery

The urban infrastructure not only has problems because of the UHI from the building and hardscape materials. The landscapes don't include enough parks and greenery to absorb the surrounding weather changes. More important, the lack of greenery leads to increased air and Earth pollution, creating imbalances in the urban areas. Many are finding that this issue is one which is leading to problems with not only the environment, but also related health issues within urban areas.

Resolving Environmental Hazards in Urban Areas

To combat against issues of pollution and UHI, municipalities and communities now have a responsibility to begin changing the infrastructure of urban areas. If not, then an expected increase in heat, pollution and deterioration of the cities will continue. Recommendations include:

  • Greenery. Planting trees, shrubs and other green areas will increase the balance between the environment and urban areas. Many studies have found that adding in parks is a simple and effective way to decrease heat, reduce pollution and assist with different activities for the community, creating a different environment within urban areas.
  • Landscape Materials. There are now materials that are environmentally friendly. When introducing these to pathways, it automatically changes the issues with UHI and sediment run off, decreasing the amount of pollution in cities. The materials are organic, using the natural elements of the Earth in combination with aggregate or paving stones to create a balance with the weather while creating green urban cities.
  • Balancing Buildings. Many places throughout the world are finding ways to add greenery to buildings while creating natural methods that assist in creating harmony with the environment. Landscape architects are now looking at solutions that use alternative materials, designs and greenery to create a new formula for urbanization.
  • Changing Pollution Levels. Sediment run-off, air pollution and bio hazards are common in urban areas. By creating alternative infrastructures, such as walkways and upgraded vehicle systems, pollution will begin to decline.

Green Urban Landscapes

The Future of Urbanization

Activists, environmentalists, cities and development planners are all noting the need to change the urbanization of the future. Deterioration through pollution and imbalances in the environment are causing problems with those that are in communities. With 80% of the population living in urban areas in the US alone, is also the need to begin examining ways to upgrade the urban areas.

With the future of urban areas now at play, is also the necessity to begin looking at materials, greenery and building changes that balance with the environment. By using these specific materials, there is the ability to alter the way in which the environment functions in relation to cities. Balancing the environment with urbanization will create a new formula for sustainable living among those in every community.

© 2017 elementals


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