Vegetation on brownfield sites can be a positive, say researchers

"Spontaneous vegetation" on brownfield sites should not be written off as a problem but rather investigated for its social and environmental use, German researchers say.

Image: Bert Walther (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Image: Bert Walther (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The researchers, from insititutes in Dresden and Leipzig, carried out surveys in both cities which yielded "a range of views on brownfields with spontaneous vegetation from negative to positive".

"Many residents make use of brownfields, have concrete ideas about how such areas should be utilized or designed and are even prepared to take part in the transformation," they write, and note that "especially urban brownfields with spontaneous vegetation can contribute to biodiversity and ecosystem services in dense urban environments".

Their paper, published in the journal Urban Forestry & Urban Greening", suggests that the use and design of green space should be rethought in unconventional ways, and discusses how the ecological and social potential of brownfields with spontaneous vegetation can be best exploited for urban residents".

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