Egbert Roozen, Director of Branchevereniging VHG (Dutch Landscape Association) and the Green City, spends his time positioning the green industry as part of green solutions for the Netherlands’ built communities. While no one is against green, Egbert told the Green Cities Conference, “There’s no urgency,” either.
Egbert focuses on presenting proactive, solution-based ideas on how plants and landscapes can play a positive role in cleaning air, improving health, increasing biodiversity and creating a higher quality of life.
“Quality living environment, biodiversity and health – these are the three topics I lobby on,” he explained. “The time of thinking about aesthetics is over. We are talking about functionality.”
The association surveyed home gardeners and discovered they wanted sustainability in the garden, but they didn’t know what it was. That’s when The Living Garden was born. The Living Garden helps landscapers and consumers conceptually understand and visualize how to create residential living spaces that are not only good for people, but also environmentally aware.
Ten elements are part of the designed Living Garden: Pavement; Plants; Hardscape and fences; Water; Lawn; Energy; Irrigation; Soil; Reuse/waste; and Maintenance. These elements are then rated in how well the space performs for Soils, Wildlife/biodiversity, Food production, Energy and Water. For instance, fences are okay, but they should allow wildlife to pass through.
The Living Garden concept has worked so well, that it’s being extended to public and commercial spaces as well.
VHG also maintains the Green City website. “Green City is non-commercial. It’s a communication platform,” Egbert said, for “[practical] ideas of sustainable development in urban spaces.”
NewTerrain April 16, 2016.