At this stage, supporting the urban ecosystem requires more logistical and financial investment, as well as time. Architectural and botanical consultations will also be indispensable. It is also worth preceding such activities with observation, consulting the local community for ideas to take into account the diverse needs and perspectives of residents, including non-human ones.
The idea behind a permaculture garden is to grow plants which naturally occur in a given climate using resources which best serve the environment. A permaculture garden behaves like a system of interconnected vessels, and each part – rainwater, compost, branches and stones for building patches – is an element of a process chain. More information about permaculture gardens in Poland can be found here, here and here.
Structural substrates instead of tarmac
In order to increase the permeability and retention capacity of soil in the city, a structural substrate or other permeable hardened surface (i.e. gravel, stone, grass, earth surfaces) can be used instead of tarmac or paving slabs. It is also worth considering removing some or all of the old tarmac and allocating more space for vegetation, reducing traffic routes to the necessary minimum. Read more.
It is worth investing in irrigation systems adjusted to the landscape, which would transport rainwater through a network of canals, ditches, ponds and wetlands. A park or square designed in this way would certainly become a pleasant recreational area for residents and the audience of the institution. Similarly, a playground area may be designed using natural resources, such as stones, moss or grass.
Green roofs and walls of buildings in the city effectively hold rainwater in, preventing flooding during downpours. They also have a positive effect on the microclimate. They can reduce the costs of heating or cooling buildings. More about green roofs on the website of the Polish Green Roofs Association.
Saving old trees
A one hundred-year-old healthy beech produces 1,200 liters of oxygen per hour. This is more or less the same as 1,700 ten-year-old beeches. Old trees do not only offer a larger transpiration area (evaporation of water from tree leaves), and reduce the level of air pollution and noise, but are also a rich habitat for millions of organisms (fungi, birds, insects, small mammals). Even if an old tree is sick, has cavities, or is at risk of being windfallen for various reasons, it is worth thoroughly considering whether it should be felled. Young seedlings will never compensate for the loss of the richness of flora and fauna of the old tree shaped over many years. Instead of cutting them down, we can maintain their stability and longevity using modern methods of binding in the tree crowns, without risk to the safety of people and property in the vicinity. In exceptional circumstances, the tree can also be transplanted.