Urban Nature in Rishon LeZion

 

The City Planning Department is currently moving ahead with a project aimed at mapping out the city’s nature spots. Rishon LeZion recognizes the importance of preserving and nurturing urban nature, thereby joining other major cities in Israel and worldwide, notably Jerusalem, London, New York, Barcelona and Buenos Aires, among others.
Mapping municipal nature sites is a first step towards joining the international Green Map System, of which the most important and advanced cities in the world are members. Requirements include mapping and publicizing all of the city’s environmental aspects (such as urban nature sites, recycling stations, natural foods stores, etc.)

What is Urban Nature?
Urban nature means any natural or semi-natural area within city limits or on its outskirts. Such areas often serve as a habitat for animal species and indigenous plants. Urban nature sites are a high-quality, important resource that is relatively inexpensive to maintain and that upgrades the quality of life for its residents and visitors. These sites are unique by virtue of offering open spaces for public welfare and use, usually at no cost; being accessible; providing a source of enjoyment, education and local pride; and helping mitigate environmental hazards.

Characteristics of Urban Nature
An urban nature site might be a large open space such as limestone cliffs, a beach, woods, and so forth; compact like a small city park and winter puddles; or anything else connected to wildlife, greenery or open areas. The site may contain a large variety of plants and/or animals, or just one rare strain or species.

The Importance of Urban Nature Sites
Every urban nature site encompasses a range of topics and experiences for the enjoyment and welfare of city residents. Collectively, their importance is manifested on two levels: one is ecological – preserving unique local flora and fauna; and the second is social/educational – expanding opportunities for leisure and recreation activities in and around the city, and strengthening people’s connection with their environment.

Rishon LeZion Municipal Activities to Promote Urban Nature
Mapping and creating an active database: The mapping, currently in preparatory stages, will serve as the basis for preparing an urban nature master plan in the city.
Identifying and nurturing unique natural features throughout the city: This activity is aimed at preserving natural areas and habitats.
Creating green continuity: Creating paths linking the intra-city nature spots with the green open spaces surrounding the city.
Involving the public and increasing awareness: Advertising urban nature sites, holding study days, appealing to the public to spread the word, etc.
Green community activity: Raising awareness of environmental education and activities within the various educational frameworks and in the community (such as communal gardens).