Half of neighborhoods in large Dutch cities don't have enough green space
In over half of the Netherlands' largest 32 municipalities neighborhoods, there is too little space for public greenery, environmental organization Natuur & Milieu concluded in a study. 53 percent of the 1,937 neighborhoods studied do not meet the criterion of 75 square meters of green space per home and are, therefore, "petrified," according to the environmental organization.
To measure the "petrification," Natuur & Milieu looked at two aspects. First was the government's lower limit of 75 square meters of green space per home. Green includes everything that is not petrified, like parks, lawns, roadsides, and water. The environmental organization also looked at World Health Organization advice of at least one hectare of continuous greenery per neighborhood. According to the study, a tenth of studied neighborhoods doesn't meet this advice.
"The Netherlands is becoming increasingly petrified. With flooded streets for hours after heavy rainfall and heat stress in the cities as a result. Petrification is also one of the main causes of the decline of birds and insects," said Rob van Tilburg, director of Programs at Natuur & Milieu.
The most petrified neighborhoods are in Haarlem, Westland, Amsterdam, Delft, and Tilburg. In these cities, there is zero to two square meters of green space per home. Emmen, Almere, and Haarlemermeer have the lowest proportion of petrified neighborhoods. According to the study, neighborhoods built after 2010 (new construction) score slightly better than older neighborhoods, but a third of the new neighborhoods still don't meet the 75 square meters of green space criterion.
The environmental organization called for a national obligation for nature-inclusive construction. "Make green standards a legal requirement for all new construction and urban renewal. So that all neighborhoods that we build in the coming years are natural and climate-proof," said Van Tilburg.
Reporting by ANP.