The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) held its 70th Annual Congress, during the international trade fair Flormart 2018 in Padua, Italy, including the International Green City Conference. The conference addressed the challenge of greening old cities. Invited delegates included city decision makers, planners, landscape architects, horticulturalists and others interested in retro-fitting old cities with living green. Topic areas presented and discussed included which plants to use and the benefits of living green on the health of citizens and environmental biodiversity. Opening the conference, AIPH Green City Committee Chair, Ms Karen Tambayong stressed that whilst talking about green cities has become fashionable, sustaining our eco-systems, which were not designed for the strains placed upon them, remains our greatest challenge.
The first main speaker, Professor Valerio Morabito from Pennsylvania University, presented studies of how old cities are rising to the challenge of greening. Using examples of cities across Italy, he presented the latest thinking and innovation in designing green space. Professor Paolo Semenzato from the University of Padova gave a review on how city greening makes its citizens healthier and suggested that instead of referring to ‘cultural heritage’ we should focus on ‘cultural landscape’. Ms Tambayong: “After nine years of championing the AIPH Green City concept, we are in a stronger position to invest in the future and put Green City at the centre of this with AIPH as the engine. AIPH is the international facilitator for sharing best practice and making changes. Watch as we move forward and we hope you will be part of our plans.” Than the International Expo Conference was addressed how to make an International Horticultural Expo a success for business, commerce, community and visitors. Key note speaker Mr Kees van Rooij, former Mayor of Horst aan de Maas, in the region of Floriade 2012 in Venlo, spoke about why the Floriade was so important for the region and how an Expo can be used as part of city development. He reported that the significant investment in infrastructure for Floraide has continued to boast development in industry, commerce, education and international relations within the region.” Mr John Boon of ARCADIS spoke on the importance of clear communication and strong cooperation between landscape architects and grounds maintenance staff to ensure the highest standards for a planted landscape are maintained throughout the duration of an Expo and to maximise the visitor experience. Progress reports were presented on forthcoming AIPH-approved Expos and exhibitions from the event organisers of Beijing (2019), Qatar (2021), Almere (2022), Lodz (2024), Hatay (2021), Turkey (2021), Yangzhou (2021), Nantes and Taichung (2019). Approximately 80 delegates involved in organising horticultural Expos attended the conference which was hosted by Flormart and supported by AIPH member the Italian Nursery Stock Exporters Association (ANVE).