Aug 17, 2019 | Updated: 07:24 AM EDT

Experts Identified Benefits of Pop-Up Parks in Urban Areas

Jun 08, 2019 09:48 AM EDT

Pop up Park, Cookridge Street, Leeds
(Photo : Mtaylor848)

The urban setting is usually made of hard and impervious spaces so that busy human activities could easily and conveniently take place. Recently, an increasingly popular trend has been dotting urban layouts. Pop-up restaurants and stores became a craze that has caused a commercial bloom in different cities.

With this concept, experts looking for ways to incorporate natural elements into a highly-urbanized area have looked into the pop-up parks in different locations around a highly-developed city.

Experts pointed out that open "green spaces" deliver new socio-ecological benefits to both wildlife and urban residents. These "green spaces" includes the large city parks and or other undeveloped areas.

The big conflict is the skyrocketing rates of urban growth where only little green spaces are left in urban landscapes. This problem is observed in many locations across the globe.

Proposed "pop up parks" (PUPs) is the solution that experts are pushing for implementation so that green spaces would still be incorporated in different urban landscapes. The PUPs could be small green spaces with various sizes and compositions which can be permanently or temporarily installed but can help meet the demands for green spaces in an urban area. Another benefit of the PUPs includes its function as a conservation effort for providing small scale habitats for a number of threatened plants and animals found in an urban type of environment.

Luis Mata, the lead author of the study and ecologist for the People, Nature, Place research program at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University's Center for Urban Research, worked with a team of his peers to combine a case study with the systematic literature review to explore the different potential benefits and impacts of PUPs to the socio-ecological relationships in an urban setting.

Mata explained that their goal was to provide empirical evidence on the capacity of pop-up parks to deliver positive biodiversity outcomes to the urban setting. The team would also be looking into direct or implied evidence from the gathered literature for possible social benefits of the green spaces.

"Grasslands," a six-week arts-science collaborative project featuring the PUPs in Melbourne, Australia was chosen by Mata's team to examine the effectiveness of the small green spaces on urban biodiversity. "Grasslands" features planters containing native grasses that were installed around the state library of Victoria.

The team wanted to see the effects of the PUPs on the biodiversity of insects and spiders on the site. Mata explained that the plant resources provided by "Grasslands" boosted and sustained functionally and taxonomically diverse insect and spider communities. This has contributed to the provision of important ecosystem services. Mata named the ecosystem services to include various insect activities such as pollination, nutrient cycling, and pest control.

The trend in installing PUPs has proven to exhibit successful results when it comes to improving biodiversity and wildlife in the urban setting. However, the authors of the study pointed out that pop-up parks are not to be considered as replacements for larger natural green spaces or reserves.

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