Urbanization poses challenges

Urbanization also means a rapid transformation of human social and cultural roots on a global scale. Urban culture, characterized by distant, unfamiliar relations, and mostly competitive behavior, will replace rural culture, widely characterized by intimate relationships and communal behavior. The improvement of educational and public services, therefore, is the most important challenge for an urban future to be addressed. Whereas on the one hand this process will be eased by a more concentrated population easier to reach, the change management of growing cities on the other hand will pose new challenges like providing urban jobs, housing, energy and infrastructure to mitigate or avoid urban poverty and a deterioration of the urban environment.

Urban plants influence thinking and acting

Urban culture already now has a major deficiency:  very limited knowledge about the fundamentals of human existence related to food production and socio-ecological dynamics. Urbanpeople will have to learn about the essentials: where bread is coming from, how vegetables have to be grown, wht keeps food healthy and clea or why they feel well in parks and green oases.

Urban plants are directly or indirectly important to bring this knowledge back and to develop a socio-ecological thinking in cities. All groups of urban citizens will be in contact with or be potential users of urban plants, which will have to be maintained and used carefully. On the other side their spread will have to be controlled, and potential negative impacts have to be avoided. Overall, urban plants play the decisive role in implanting future sustainably.

They are...

  • structural components of urban architecture
  • the most impressive natural elements in cities
  • ecologically effective components regulating climate,
  • building ecological bridges to avoid biological isolation
  • guarantying biodiversity within cities
  • core elements of home gardens and city farms
  • culture plants and media of intercultural exchange
  • a focus for teaching and learning
  • an economcal factor and key element for jobs and product innovation
  • important for recreation, sports and health
  • identifying styles of living

The management of urban plants includes...

  • integrated plant protection as core element
  • specific regard to professional and hobby gardeners
  • related education and advice
  • intense networking by inclusion of all stakeholders
  • definition of new public responsibilities
  • transparency of management procedures
  • complex information chains