Institution: RWTH Aachen University – Germany

Contact: jgaeckle@la.rwth-aachen.de

Keywords: Urban Forest, Experimental Design, Open Space Planning, Local Identity

Recently themes like forest bathing, contact with nature or a return to the human senses are increasingly featured on the covers of lifestyle magazines, which shows that these topics are becoming more relevant to the public.

Public green spaces can serve as places of recreation and relaxation, especially for people who live and work in the urban environment. Newer publications discuss questions regarding two abilities of these spaces: to follow new trends for usage as well as function (WGBU report: “Der Umzug der Menschheit – Die transformative Kraft der Städte) and to satisfy the desire for ” special moments “in everyday urban life.

This presentation will present and compare projects which test innovative green spaces as new design forms for urban spaces.

New, experimental forms of urban green, compact, sometimes temporary urban forests, are already being explored in many public space projects. For example, the architect Asif Khan combines architectural elements with green structures in his “Forest Bathing” installation in London, offering people in this public place a special place to come together. People can easily socialize in this way and becoming a part of the local community. The Bankside Urban Forest project in London also manages to design comfortable green spaces with a focus on the human scale with new green structures. The theory of Biophilic Urban Acupuncture, states that humans often need “green” to feel comfortable and that especially many smaller green spatial interventions in the city can have an enormous effect on well-being.

Experimental green structures in the urban landscape seem to strengthen a sense of environmental awareness as well as a sense of community. However, for these kinds of interventions to be feasible in the long term and at different places, a new understanding of responsibility for maintenance has to be established at the local citizen and community level. Relating to these problems, I will give an outlook on possible ideas for the future.

Presentation: link