CONCRETE DESIGN CAN BRING THE BEST OUT OF GREEN SPACES
Published on 10/7/21
Thinking of outdoor landscapes, the last thing that may come to mind is concrete. But this incredibly versatile material is helping to make our urban green zones highly-prized settings for leisure, exercise, and communal connection.
With the right approach, incorporating concrete into the design of our greenscapes can actually enhance what they have to offer. We explore some of the biggest ways below.
Maximizing Landscaping Possibilities
Utilizing structural concrete in a landscape enables more bold and challenging terraforming. Through the use of retaining walls, earth can be pushed across both horizontal and vertical planes, and even waterways can be given secure passage. The Fuse Valley project in Portugal displays this broadened capability with multi-tiered hillside terraces, walled courtyards, and a riverfront promenade.
In addition, structural concrete installations can actually make it possible to multiply the amount of green space that can fit in a single site. Concrete platforms that rise above ground-level lawns can host their own gardens and landscaping, enhancing dimensionality while adding to the total square footage of accessible greenery.
Bringing More Function
City green spaces can be welcome treats for the eye, but they should offer more than a picturesque view. These sites can become central hubs for recreation and gathering, serving as useful venues in daily life. Integrating pragmatic concrete structures into the scenery incentivizes use and encourages people to spend more time at these urban destinations.
Our own work at the Esencia Sports Park shows how the right installations can make a green site a magnet for activity. The 30-acre property is filled with concrete seat walls, fire pits, ramps, a pool, and colored playground paving, as well as other concrete elements that amplify its usability.
Outfitting this attraction with so many amenities has made it a local favorite among families, athletes, and anyone looking for a place to enjoy outdoor fun.
Traffic congestion is a worsening problem in our cities and suburbs, as our landscapes tend to make walking an impractical mode of transportation. Blocks sprawl to tedious distances, and private properties bar the opportunity to take shortcuts.
With concrete walkways built into open greens, urban planners can incentivize pedestrians to take foot paths that are much more efficient than car-based routes. Even small spaces between buildings can be turned into serene thoroughfares when landscaping and concrete work in synchrony.
For example, the Pocket Park on Shanghai’s Xinhua Road carves out a tranquil lane between two buildings, offering a restful route to pedestrians navigating the dense urban fabric.
Building Green Into the City
The 21st century city is no longer a wasteland of endless cement. As public and private organizations adapt their facilities to meet increasing sustainability standards, we’re seeing the demand for green-infused architecture skyrocket. Once-lifeless industrial rooftops are becoming home to skyline gardens, and the barrier between building and earth is growing blurred.
This trend can be seen in a Buenos Aires project that’s currently under construction. The site’s old concrete structure is being updated and expanded to make open terraces and green spaces part of the new building itself. Concrete walkways glide onto the rooftops, which are envisioned as vast park grounds offering leisurely strolls and inspiring views. By using structural concrete to sculpt a new landscape into the building, the project designers are introducing green space where none existed before.
Maximize Your Green Space’s Potential with Concrete
Our team here at CCI can help you leverage concrete to get the most value from your site’s green space. We’ve helped numerous San Diego properties achieve a level of beauty and function that exceeds all expectations.