When AIPH announced they were partnering with the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) to have an International Green City Conference in Vancouver, making the decision to attend was easy. Not only has Vancouver announced they want to be one of the world’s greenest cities, but a trip to the Canadian Northwest has been on my bucket list for years. In this and the next issue of NewTerrain I’ll provide you with details of what’s happening in Vancouver and highlights from Asian and European AIPH members. To say Vancouver is spectacular would be an understatement.
Before diving in, many thanks to CNLA and especially Bill Hardy, Northwest Landscape Supply, who served as Chair of the AIPH Green City Conference.
The week included AIPH Spring Meetings, the European Landscape Contractors Association (ELCA) Board Meetings and CNLA Landscape Summit in addition to the Green Cities Conference and tour.
AIPH, the International Association of Horticultural Producers, “The world’s champion for the power of plants” advocates for and supports their worldwide grower member organizations (CNLA and AmericanHort are North America’s representatives). AIPH President Bernard Oosterom, a Dutch grower who also chairs the FloraHolland Cooperative Board, told the audience that modern cities have a lot of problems–health and social issues, and the heat island effect among them—that plants can affect positively. “The movement is bigger than us and one that matters to our children. The next generation can grow up in green, healthy cities with an appreciation of the natural world and the power of plants.” We need to make green a basic requisite of urban life. The correct use of plants in the urban landscape can be a vital tool. “Shout the message loudly, especially to government and city decision makers who need to hear it.”
Tim Briercliffe, AIPH Secretary General, said putting more green into cities isn’t a new problem. By the 1950s it’s thought that planners started to recognize the problems with urban sprawl and cities began seeking balance between green and gray. More recently, AIPH recognized the need for more ornamental horticulture involvement in urban development and started a Green Cities Committee. The health of society, environmental and economic benefits are a few of the functional benefits of green landscapes. AIPH seeks to share best practices, he said.
The challenge comes in reaching the real decision makers, Tim went on. Green must be included in plans and rules, he said, and cities need the right horticultural skills to implement greening. Development focuses on short term gain without the inconvenience of plants. The reality is that those paying for the landscape installation do not reap the benefits of plants. It’s imperative that cities take the lead and force greening.
How to get decision makers to pay attention to plant based, green infrastructure was the topic of CNLA’s Landscape Summit held as a backdrop for their New Landscape Standard.
NewTerrain April 5, 2016.