Nature is an integral part of the city: its many benefits actively contribute to the well-being of urban users and help cities become more resilient.
Revegetation plays an essential role in the Beau Plan. Neglected for too long in the urban development of Mauritius, it has made a comeback through the emergence of the concept of “smart cities”, which are created with the needs of their users in mind.
Equivalent to energy performance or carbon neutrality, the return of biodiversity and its integration into an urban environment is crucial to promote healthy lifestyles in the cities of tomorrow. In addition to reinforcing the city’s aesthetics by offering a pleasant setting, biodiversity also provides social cohesion through the sharing and maintenance of a common space.
In this sense, Beau Plan supports the revegetation of the region through two strategic projects: the creation of a “tiny forest” in Pamplemousses with the support of the inhabitants and NGOs of the region; and the implantation of more than 500 endemic trees and exotic plants on an area of 4,000 m2 along the roads of the village of Bois Rouge.
Ensuring the capture of CO2 on busy roads, these two projects also aim to involve the inhabitants in the beautification of their villages.
Nature, at the heart of human well-being
According to this central notion, initiated by the American psychoanalyst Erich Fromm in the 1960s, the presence of nature in cities is indeed closely linked to the well-being of urban populations. Simply laying eyes on a garden bathed in light or a green space is enough, unconsciously, to bring us lasting benefits like reduction of stress, the feeling of peace, and boost creativity…
Called biophilia, the need to be surrounded by nature is innate in humans. In that light, green corridors and urban parks, where people can exercise or relax are also being developed in the city.
Convinced of the importance of integrating natural spaces into the city, Novaterra is working towards making Beau Plan a pleasant city where you can walk, play sports and enjoy the outdoors alone or with your loved ones. In addition to shared gardens and green spaces around the different residential areas, as is the case around Mango Village and in front of Le Hameau or Les Muguets, the city plans to have more than 9 m2 of green spaces per user in the long term at the Business District. A step which will further contribute to everyone’s well-being.
Endemic or low maintenance plants are also favoured throughout the city. Endemic species are chosen for their strong resilience to the region’s climate, and exotic plants, such as royal palms, pennisetums, pampas, dianella or bougainvillea, for their low water needs, so as not to impact heavily on the resources of the region.
A positive impact on the use of public roads and spaces
If the use of air conditioners in buildings is highly appreciated to get through the hottest months of the year, other possibilities exist to cut back on their use. With this in mind, a good orientation of the buildings allows for example to increase natural ventilation and reduce energy consumption.
Public spaces are the first things that should be taken into consideration when it comes to temperature. To allow the city to breathe, it is necessary, in the first place, to plant around the streets.
These pockets of greenery will, in turn, reduce heat by releasing water vapour through the process of photosynthesis and improve air quality. They also contribute to reducing air pollution, both by storing carbon in the soil and by encouraging city users to travel by foot or bike rather than by car – with the shade making travel more pleasant. By ensuring that existing trees and orchards are preserved as much as possible and that the replacement rate of cut species is higher than the cutting rate, the Smart City exudes a pleasant atmosphere for all its users.