Carefully planned multifunctional Urban Green Infrastructure (UGI) design can help to mitigate the environmental impacts associated with urbanisation (e.g. urban heat island effect, scarcity of open space, noise and air pollution, and nature deficit). However, there is often a lack of understanding of the current capacity of Urban Green Infrastructure and the processes involved in its implementation (design, planning, construction) and management (long-term funding, maintenance). With stakeholders lacking of a strong basis for decision-making, opportunities to develop and fund green infrastructure initiatives are being missed. Thus, considering that much of the necessary information exists, methods to document and transfer good practice examples are needed.
Historically, architecture and planning theories suggested that green spaces should be one of the basic components of human urban settlements. Nevertheless, due to numerous constraints and the prioritisation of economic and social drivers, the incorporation of green spaces was not always an intrinsic consideration during the development of European cities or, if it was, was mainly restricted in scope and functionality. Whilst the green component concept and praxis have been treated as constituent components of cities, it is rare to find an infrastructural approach to the design and management of green spaces with specific reference to an overview spanning, from metropolitan parks and naturalistic corridors to the micro-green areas. In contemporary society, however, human settlements and activities are completely based on infrastructures to a much greater extent than historically. Hence, in order to maximise the potential multifunctional benefits of UGI, there is a need for greater understanding of the processes behind planning and implementation through sharing good practice examples. As this is a rapidly emerging and evolving area in urban planning, effective mechanisms for transferring the adaptive governance process involved in the implementation of UGI (from idea to legacy), are not currently effectively documented and shared.
Documentation and good practice information sharing in relation to the processes involved in an infrastructure approach to urban green spaces is needed. In this regard, it is crucial to create repositories of knowledge on UGI good practices than can be shared between practitioners to facilitate knowledge exchange. This must include examples such as frameworks for carrying out inventory assessments of the current status of UGI in local authority areas, developing good practice process databases, capturing the decision-making processes of stakeholders, and providing this information in formats to support informed decision making. In addition, it is also necessary to ensure that such databases are updated to keep pace with the rapid evolution in the emerging field.
While some decades ago it was unfeasible to plan the extension of urban areas without considering the urban living standards (mainly the percentage of green spaces per inhabitant and, more recently, their accessibility), nowadays it is unsustainable to plan a city without considering the bio-design of green infrastructure and how it contributes to the functioning of the city. Central to achieving this, is an understanding of current and potential capacity, barriers and drivers to installation, decisions involved in the planning process, and sharing good practice in terms of planning, designing, installing and managing UGI. By cataloguing the processes associated with good practice real-world UGI implementation, it is possible to unlock the up-scaling of such implementation to effect greater change and adaptation to climate change.
FACILITATORY (PUBLIC) BODIES:
green spaces department; water and sewer management department; asset management department; community development department; planning and development department; environmental and sustainability department; health and social well-being department
LOCAL TASK FORCE:
local or regional authority; professional expert; researcher; business
dense inner city; (sub-) urban communities; urban-rural interface; urban region; underused urban sites and building; brownfield development
MAIN NECESSARY RESOURCES ARE:
space; local knowledge; expert knowledge; public institutional set-up; monetary investments
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