Sustainability indicators

Any city would love to stand out for its involvement with sustainability in its urban planning and carry it out in the urban development of the city. At Gardenprue we give you the keys to how a group of technicians have produced a document with a series of indicators to make a green city with a perfect balance possible. Do you want to know more?



Although an Environmental Sustainability Indicators Plan has already been carried out for several cities , we bring you to Gardenprue the one that the Seville Urban Planning Department commissioned from the Barcelona Urban Ecology Agency, directed by Salvador Rueda, due to the greater diffusion it has had among the urban development sector linked to environmental sustainability. This document of 35 indicators can be put into practice in other cities. For example, it has been developed as an urban planning exercise in the Alicante center through students of Architecture from the University of Alicante with very interesting results.


To begin with, we must talk about the methodology and the thinking that this Urban Ecology Agency has on urban planning itself and its expansion. Its motto is: the urbanism of the three levels. And it is summarized in that it is necessary to leave behind the current perspective of thinking and projecting only at ground level, on the surface, but that work in the subsoil and at height makes the urban development of a city more complex for the better .

As you can imagine, the development of a series of indicators that affect the entire development of the city acts on everything that we can find in it: building, public space, mobility, services, urban organization and a long etcetera. From Gardenprue we present you in a summarized way only those that have to do with that related to the world of green spaces and areas: those that the document deals with Urban Biodiversity.

We previously commented that, in our opinion, many of these indicators seem utopian and it seems very unlikely that they will be put into practice in many current cities, being thought more for future cities that are still to be developed, to see what you think.


In the Biodiversity section we find five indicators :

The first one tells us about the proximity that every citizen should have towards green spaces, differentiating four types. And it is that according to these indicators, every citizen should be able to enjoy a green area of 1,000 m2, 5,000m2, 10,000 m2 and 100,000 m2 less than 200 m, 750m, 2 km and 4 km, respectively, from their home. It seems unlikely that in the center of our cities we can find surfaces equivalent to 14 football fields within 4 km from home. It is desirable but difficult to carry out. 

In order for there to be vegetation in cities, the soil has to be suitable for it. This is why the following indicator deals with the permeability of the soil , which dictates that it must be between 30% of the public space. All the types of soils that we can find in the city have a correction factor, with 0 being the most impermeable surface –asphalt- and 1 being the most permeable –vegetable soil-. The closer the global count approaches 0.3, the closer to optimal soil quality we will have.

Optimal soils receive trees that give color to cities. The type of trees is different depending on where we are, but for an adequate value there must be at least 200 trees per kilometer to be in the orbit of this indicator, and they may be in various alignments. These trees help create green corridors that allow the interconnection between public green spaces and areas. They would be the avenues or boulevards where the presence of the vehicle is totally null . The indicator tells us that every citizen has to have some kind of these green corridors within 600 meters.

Finally, we find an indicator that you have already been able to consult previously, that of green roofs . A reserve of 30% of the roof of the buildings for this type of green area allows an energy regulation for the building itself, an increase in the permeability of the soil is also obtained and obtaining, together with the green facades,  a continuity between green areas in the urban surface and in height.

The union of these five indicators would allow reaching the value of 10-20 m2 of spaces with green areas per inhabitant . To give you an idea, large capitals such as Paris or Tokyo have an average of 6 and 5 square meters of green areas per inhabitant. Cities like Moscow or New York move in the maximum values ​​that are established, with 20 and 24.6 m2 of green areas per inhabitant, respectively. But without a doubt, the example to follow in this regard is the Brazilian city of Curitiba with 52 m2 of green areas per inhabitant (a city we spoke to a few days ago).

If you want to take a look at all the indicators and try to put them into practice in your city, here is a link  in pdf titled “Special Plan for Indicators of Environmental Sustainability of Urban Activity in Seville”.

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