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Edinburgh will play host to a one-day conference looking at the important role of green infrastructure in cities and urban environments in transforming the way we live today. 

Set to take place on 15 June 2017 at the John McIntyre Conference Centre in Edinburgh’s Pollock Halls, the seventh annual forum of the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) will draw inspiration from across the globe, featuring contributions from a range of international experts in the field from Italy, Belfast and Copenhagen.

Italian senior architect, Francesca Cesa Bianchi of Stefano Boeri Architects will showcase Bosco Verticale to demonstrate how buildings can make a valuable contribution to green infrastructure in cities and urban areas.  The first example of the Vertical Forest concept is seen in two sustainable residential towers in the centre of Milan, 110m and 76m high and hosting 900 trees and over 20,000 plants distributed on the facades of the buildings.   Each Vertical Forest equates to an area of 7,000 square metres of forest. 

Wendy Langham, programme manager from Eastside Partnership in Belfast, will shine a spotlight on The Connswater Community Greenway which has created a 9km linear park alongside the rivers in East Belfast with 16km of walking and cycling routes, 23 new or improved bridges or crossings alongside three rivers, and works to deliver elements of Belfast’s Flood Alleviation scheme and improve water quality.

Niels Jensen, a traffic planner with the City of Copenhagen will discuss Copenhagen’s Green Routes to illustrate best practice in green active travel. Well known for its high quality on-road cycling network, since the 1930s the city has also developed a network of over 60km of routes through parks, open spaces, woodlands and other habitats which allow walkers and cyclists to commute away from traffic and in nature.

Keith Geddes, Chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGNT) which drives forward delivery of the CSGN, said: “The seventh annual forum will shine a spotlight on the value of greenspace, green infrastructure and active travel in bringing multiple benefits across health, transport, the economy and the wider environment.

“Our international speakers will present inspiring city projects that are creating more liveable places which are better for health, well-being and urban biodiversity and which contribute to local culture and identity and help with climate change resilience.”

Projects closer to home will also feature in the programme exploring local active travel, greening and community growing initiatives in Edinburgh.  There will also be a series of workshops covering a range of topics including the new Scotland’s Greenspace Map, engaging with young people and encouraging communities to get involved in planning and placemaking.

As Europe’s largest greenspace initiative, CSGN is working to transform the central belt into a place where the environment adds value to the economy and where people’s lives are enriched by its quality.  Stretching from Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire in the west, to Fife and Lothians in the east, it encompasses 19 local authorities across 10,000 sq km and has the potential to benefit 3.5million people, equating to 70 per cent of Scotland’s population.