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Going green: five urban spaces reinvented

As cities swell, the need for nature gets ever greater. Here’s to the places giving their urban landscapes a verdant revamp.

Published 10 Aug 2019, 06:00 BST
The Bentway opened in Toronto earlier this year.
The Bentway opened in Toronto earlier this year.
Photograph by Nic Lehoux

Could Queensland’s capital be home the world’s greatest urban park? Possibly, if Brisbane’s ambitious plans take off. The Victoria Park Golf Course will reopen as a 45-hectare grassy oasis that the city hopes will rival the likes of Central and Hyde Parks. Markets, play areas and cinemas are rumoured to be part of the plan, so watch this (green) space. 

Things are getting greener in the concrete jungle of Canada’s largest city. Earlier this year, The Bentway opened beneath the Gardiner Expressway; with gardens, events spaces and a skate trail, the mile-long park has turned an underused space into an urban playground. In an extra eco-friendly flourish, the paving even uses recycled construction debris. 

For all its eternal beauty, Rome’s green spaces have started to show their age. The good news is that the city’s now spending €12 (£10.7) million on sprucing up its parks and gardens, such as those around the Colosseum and the family favourite, the Villa Borghese Gardens. As part of a major overhaul of public spaces and services, the council will be carrying out a number of improvements for Romans and visitors alike, including planting new trees, repairing fountains and introducing community sports facilities.  

New York's High Line turns 10 this year.
Photograph by Alamy

New York
The High Line — Manhattan’s urban greenway — turns 10 this year and to mark the occasion, its final stage has just been opened to the public. Linking the walkway with new development Hudson Yards, the Spur features scenic balconies, giant planters and a piazza. It’s also home to the Plinth, a permanent exhibition space for a rotating series of artists. 

Forget gold, silver and bronze — the French capital is firmly set on green for the 2024 Olympic Games as it looks to improve access and biodiversity in what are set to be the most sustainable Olympics yet. Landscaping project One Line, from architects Gustafson Porter + Bowman, will see a near-uninterrupted avenue of greenery run from the Trocadéro, under the Eiffel Tower and to the École Militaire, with the Pont d’Iéna bridge transformed into a ‘green bridge’ for pedestrians.

Follow @connorjmcgovern

Published in the September 2019 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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