After more than a year of planning, this month I travelled to Buenos Aires to visit a friend and explore a new part of the world. Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city in Argentina. Host to all of the components you would expect from a capital city; culture, food, arts, as well as some beautiful architecture. The city has a very European feel, with some of the architecture mimicking cities such as Barcelona and Madrid, but with a more Latin American edge.

 

What struck me about the city was the sheer amount of trees lining the streets. Because of this, Buenos Aires to me felt like a very green city, as well as the many plazas of grass and trees, I found I was always only a short distance from a place to sit and relax. 

However the WHO (World Health Organisation) states that the city is distinctly lacking in green spaces. With a recommendation of at least 9m squared of green space per person, Buenos Aires has only 2m squared, ten times less than New York City. The WHO suggest that the city needs at least 70 more plazas before it will reach the necessary amount of green space. Historically the city was much more green, hosting more parks and larger plazas across the city. Yet during the 1970’s streets and parks were replaced with paving as development throughout the city increased. 

             

 

When compared to it’s neighbours, green space statistics for Buenos Aires are pretty low. Yet I felt they have created a mix of green and grey infrastructure very well, and to me a tree lined journey is  just as important as the destination of a large green space. The trees and green walls shaded the walkways making them cooler and creating an illusion of cleaner, safer areas. 

As with many cities, the previous road infrastructure developments are now being designed out to make cities pedestrian friendly once more. Buenos Aires is one of the busiest and polluted cities in terms of traffic that I have ever been, and trying to cross roads with numerous lanes and seemingly no road rules is pretty dangerous. However in recent years, over 100 blocks of busy downtown streets have been pedestrianised, and car lanes transformed into bus only lanes to ease the traffic problem (although this was to thedetriment of many trees). 

 

Buenos Aires is making a commitment to a greener more sustainable future. Back in September 2011, Buenos Aires joined the Climate Change Act, creating strategies including the implementation of more green roofs, and rain water harvesting. Furthermore it is named in the world’s top 10 cities battling global warming by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. 

It is clear that the rising population in the UK is creating a pressure to build more homes, taking priority in most cases over green spaces. However a city as busy and people heavy as Buenos Aires still manages to incorporate green infrastructure into their streets. Sure, they have work to do in terms of increasing the surface area of green infrastructure, but the many buildings covered in foliage and trees lining almost every street, proves that it is possible for trees and plants to remind a priority and be incorporated into our fast developing country. 

If you would like to find out more about Green Infrastrucure please e-mail Holly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.