For several years now, the city of Yokohama has been working tirelessly to counteract the further loss of green space in the metropolitan city. Not an easy task in a constantly growing city where housing is in short supply. But Yokohama has consciously decided against further clearing of forest areas for the purpose of building new housing estates and is intensively promoting the continued existence of these green areas.
In April of this year, a concrete 5-year plan will come into force, which will expand existing efforts but also include new aspects. The goal is clear: Yokohama should not only not lose any more green, it should get even more. Of course, ecological aspects also play an important role: healthy forests and green areas should ensure a better climate in hot months, the protection of biodiversity and a healthy water cycle. In addition, all citizens who have already been strongly made aware of the topic of greening by the Garden Necklace greening fair will be introduced to nature and involved in its conservation more intensively.
Specific plans for a greener city
On the one hand, the city wants to purchase further green spaces that are still privately owned in order to be able to take care of them accordingly. Property owners who are not interested in a sale should be supported in such a way that they can take good care of their land. For example, the real estate tax can be reduced or subsidies for maintenance costs can be granted. The city wants to ensure that forests are sufficiently thinned out, that paths and slopes for visitors are secured and that necessary facility such as sanitary facilities are installed so that the forests again become places of recreation for the citizens.
On the other hand, the knowledge of the forest, green areas, and agriculture among the citizens is strongly promoted. Young and old should be able to approach nature again in a joyful way during hikes, guided tours or even harvests. Thus, forest walking tours and other leisure activities, as well as lectures are offered.
There are welcome centers all over the city where citizens can get information about the surrounding nature. But individual commitment is also encouraged. In order to successfully implement the planned projects, it is essential that the citizens also participate, and so the city trains and educates volunteers who want to take care of certain areas. In this way, the city ensures, that the volunteers are equipped with a good knowledge base in order to be able to actively support the entire ecosystem.
Green-Up in the city center
The sparsely wooded city center around Minatomirai and the coastal areas will also be supported. In particular, the avenues and trees along the streets will be maintained and their number be increased, the parking areas will be expanded or upgraded with more greenery and recreational areas. In the city center, efforts are specially made to introduce citizens to nature. It is expected that the measures as a whole will contribute to a significant improvement in air quality, more effective prevention of flooding and the resulting damage, as well as the prevention of spreading fires, more pleasant temperatures and overall promotion of the mental and physical health of the citizens.
Further advantages of the greening measures
The water sources and canals are to be given greater protection, which will also lead to a healthier water cycle. Rainwater shall be stored in order not to burden the groundwater level too much, especially in times of drought. The promotion of agriculture, however, will also lead to greater consumption of regional products, which in turn will reduce the CO2 footprint due to declining numbers of imports. Last but not least, the increased greening of facades and the expansion, as well as the creation of new forest and green areas, ensure a feel-good climate in the city, which is not only defined by the temperature but above all by the comfortable atmosphere.