2023’s Green Cities Europe Seminar, hosted in Ireland by Bord Bia on behalf of the Irish Hardy Nursery Stock Association (IHNSA), drew a significant crowd to Killeshin Hotel, Portlaoise, last 26 October.
The jam-packed seminar schedule gathered the horticulture sector and key officials from across county and city councils – as well as landscape designers, landscape contractors and academics – for networking and the sharing of expertise and best practices.
The keynote address at the seminar was delivered by Dermot Foley, principal of DFLA landscape architects, and an assistant professor of landscape architecture at UCD.
Dermot was joined by Peter O’Toole of O’Brien Landscaping, who have led a number of high-profile recent pieces of work, including the installation of Munster Rugby’s Limerick pitch, Thomond Park, and the Titanic Project in Belfast. Peter is a key commentator on Ireland’s landscape contracting sector.
A panel discussion saw a cross-section of industry voices discussing sustainability practices in horticulture and the sharing of expertise in the greening of the built environment, both with new and in revisited projects.
Panellists included Val Farrell, president of IHNSA; Paul Giles, commercial director, SAP Landscapes; Carmel Lynch, senior executive engineer, Limerick city and county council; and Trevor Landers, director and sales manager, Annaveigh Plants Ltd.
Supported by funding from the European Union, the Green Cities Europe initiative aims to highlight the importance of embedding green areas in the development of new building projects, and improving living conditions in existing projects.
Seeking to support work that combats the consequences of climate change, the campaign also raises awareness of the wider benefits that green space can offer for wellbeing, recreational space and biodiversity.
THINKING GLOBALLY, ACTING LOCALLY
In Ireland, the Green Cities Europe initiative aims to increase the proportion of green landscaping in building projects, while encouraging the use of locally-grown planting stock.
Supporting the campaign, IHNSA chairperson Val Farrell said that urban greening using Irish stock is vital to both the local economy and a sustainable future. He added:
“Supporting local growers in rural areas brings significant advantages for planners and developers around the country, but the impact and benefits are circular. Our local growers have expertise on the type of stock that is better suited to our climate, and it makes sense to deliver what will thrive here to each project for long-term benefit.
“Sourcing stock locally also reduces our carbon footprint. The case for greening our towns and cities is clear, as is the case for buying Irish.” ✽
THE GREEN CITIES EUROPE AWARD
Under the banner of Green Cities for Europe, the Green Cities Europe Award highlights the importance of green spaces in urban environments. Each participating country can nominate a national project, which is evaluated by a diverse jury composed of members from all participating countries.
The Green Cities Europe Award celebrates greening projects that champion the ideals behind the Green Cities campaign. The award highlights the importance of green urban areas for minimising the consequences of climate change, while raising awareness of the wider benefits green space can offer for human wellbeing, social cohesion, the economy and biodiversity.
Bridgefoot Street Park, an initiative of Dublin City Council, was announced as the Irish national winner at last October’s Green Cities Seminar held in Portlaoise.
The winning project, a new public park in The Liberties, Dublin 8, was developed by Dublin City Council utilising what would normally be considered waste materials, such as calp and concrete, and reclaimed stone and brick, as aggregate to create pavements, seating and play spaces.
Other Irish projects shortlisted for the Green Cities Europe Award 2023 included Limerick city and county council’s Greening Streets pop-up forest initiative, and St Audeon’s Park in Christchurch, Dublin.
THE GREEN CITIES EUROPE CAMPAIGN RAISES AWARENESS OF THE BENEFITS OF GREEN URBAN SPACE FOR WELLBEING, SOCIAL COHESION, LOCAL ECONOMY AND BIODIVERSITY.