Urbanization is taking place at unprecedented rates with 50% of the world's population living in cities. The global population is expected to grow further to reach 10 billion before it starts to stabilize or decline. Hence, the importance of improving our cities to meet our urge in living in them has become more important than ever before. The term ‘efficiency’ will be one of the major keywords that will shape our thoughts, our future research and innovations.

Efficiency pockets will be analyzed and searched for in every field and in all our needs. The human need for greenery is one of the most basic and primary needs. The health benefits of greenery are not a mere luxury, but the human's proximity to nature has instant effects on his health and moral. So the question is how can we have greenery in cities in the most efficient way possible? The concept of green skins has stormed the world in the last decade and is without a doubt a growing trend. But what is a green skin?

As the name suggests, it is greenery applied to the outer surface of an object. This object could be existing or new, functional or abandoned, stationary or in motion. To clarify further, let us imagine the following:

– An abandoned railway turned into a park. New York's sky garden is a living example of such a case;

– The rooftops of city busses could be perfect examples of oxygen-creating green skins;

– Building facades could be entirely covered in greenery. Milan's vertical forest is a prime example of the proximity of this idea coming to reality. An integrated city would be a further step in creating our own needs not only for landscaping but also for food production.

Growing food in the city instead of on an agricultural land is at its infancy stages. Numerous movements around the world are exploring these possibilities. The benefits of urban agriculture are enormous, ranging from savings in transportation, eating fresher produce, using greenery as a thermal insulator and bringing greenery to our everyday life.

Water- and energy-efficient technologies are being explored and used in this type of agriculture as production per square meter will be a decisive factor. The progressive approach in designing green spaces for cities is no longer a task assigned to a single centralized authority or government. The connectedness of communities with city planners should grant a collaborative atmosphere for architects, designers, landscape companies and entrepreneurs to share their ideas and develop them together.

Real estate developers and master planners will either be leading the way with sustainable landscape solutions or fall behind and eventually follow consumers’ expectations. Greenery plays a major role in our urban life and will have to evolve to match the current rate of urbanization.


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