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Insurance and the Greening of our Cities: Are we ready for the future?

RiskSTOP’s Head of Risk Engineering and Surveys, David Reynolds, explores the greening of our cities and offers a checklist for insurers and brokers to help them prepare for what’s to come…

Sustainability is driving future cityscapes that are significantly green. Architects are increasingly incorporating trees into their conceptual representations of our future living and working environments and the Bosco Verticale in Milan (see above) is just one example of how change has already begun.

Officially opened in October 2014, the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) is a pair of award-winning residential towers in the Porta Nuova district of Milan, Italy. The towers have heights of 110 metres and 76 metres respectively and host 900 trees and over 2,000 plants from a wide range of shrubs and floral plants distributed in relation to the façade’s position towards the sun. Similar projects are in the pipeline in other European countries, including France, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

There is an increasing focus on air quality in cities, and green walls or vertical forests are one way of combating pollution within the microclimate of a particular building. In Paris, an ambitious programme is underway to increase plantation in the city in an effort to improve climate conditions, in which one million square meters of roof and façade greening are to be installed, around 30 hectares of new green areas are to be created and 20,000 new trees planted.

In the UK, an example of such a scheme, albeit on a smaller scale, can be found at the Athenaeum Hotel in London’s Mayfair. London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is proposing guidelines to increase green infrastructure such as street trees, green roofs, green walls and rain gardens and a framework to assist local authorities and developers determine how much is required in new developments. This is intended to give greater certainty for developers and focus attention on improving urban living in the UK’s capital.

For property and liability insurers and brokers, the impact of these anticipated changes to a more green approach to our cities is likely to be extensive. For example, policy wordings may need re-working, care exercised to ensure that planting schemes are factored into re-building costs and awareness of the increased risk of arson, particularly during hot, dry summers.

To support insurers and brokers RiskSTOP has compiled a comprehensive checklist of risks and issues to manage around the anticipated future greening of our cities. To download a copy of this White Paper, please click below.

Download PDF • 560KB



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