Let's learn from other cities about how to make our streets more welcoming, safe and healthy for local residents; we've made a good start here in Islington with our six People Friendly Street zones - but we need to do more. Let's look further afield:
💚 In spite of noisy opposition, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, was re-elected in 2020 for another 5 year term and has an ambitious programme to continue her rollout of cycle routes throughout the city. She wants to add a hundred hectares of green space by offering easier access to gardening and gardening materials to residents; Parisians can garden anywhere in the city limits using 'greenery permits' to enable them to green their streets.
💚 San Francisco 6th street improvement project, in this low-income part of the city, streets are being redesigned away from parking cars towards active travel (walking, cycling and scooting) and trees. Seattle is developing Green Streets saying that street trees are vital to the 'liveability' of the city. They too prioritise active travel and street trees over car parking.
💚 The "no roofs unused" policy is part of a project to support biodiversity in the city of Utrecht to create a less stressful and happier environment. The construction of a so-called vertical forest tower with 360 trees and nearly 10,000 shrubs and flowers should be completed in 2022.
💚 Toronto aims to increase its tree canopy of 10.2 million trees by 13% over the next few decades, in recognition of the environmental, social and economic benefits which trees bring.
There's a pattern, isn't there, from just a few examples: enabling active travel in green spaces is good for everyone. A company which has done extensive research into both active travel and the value of being in nature, Intelligent Health, has the evidence presented at a webinar organised by #inspiringsustainableislington earlier this year and summed up by two key quotes:
People with more green space within 1km feel healthier, have less health complaints and have better mental health
Physical activity has more health benefits than any other single intervention
Let's crack on with it; our health depends on it.