Lack of green spaces, industrially standardized green infrastructure, and poorly targeted resource management all represent missed opportunities for maximising the ecosystem service provision of Urban Green Infrastructure (UGI). If benefits in terms of multifunctionality and sustainability are to be maximized, a greater understanding of the processes behind UGI design and performance is necessary. To unlock this understanding, performance monitoring data from experimental green infrastructure and case studies is required.
Historically, the key foci driving urban green space planning and design have tended to be aesthetic and/or recreation. Thus, urban green space was restricted in scope and functionality. In recent years, recognition of the potential multifunctional benefits of UGI has led to a renewed drive for better-planned infrastructure to be incorporated into new urban developments and retrofitted into existing areas in order to provide multifunctional ecosystem services. The truly multifunctional benefits of UGI such as supporting biodiversity of national/international conservation value, and developing urban resilience and adaptation in the face of climate change, are often still ill-understood due to insufficient monitoring and valuation data. This leads to poorly informed decision-making and standardized off-the-shelf solutions.
In order to ensure that benefits are maximised in the short and long-term, monitoring data of ecosystem performance is essential. This is the case for both experimental UGI and larger case studies. A detailed investigation of performance enables decision-makers to identify good practice real-world case studies and the main principles behind them.
To effectively quantify the multifunctional ecosystem service benefits that can be provided in urban areas through careful consideration of UGI design, consideration to monitoring provision must be made at the initiation of a project idea. This enables monitoring best practice to be incorporated from the inception of a green infrastructure project, avoiding many of the pitfalls of trying to retrofit monitoring programmes to pre-existing green infrastructure projects. Indeed, effective monitoring programmes capture the true multifunctionality of UGI and thus, ensure that biodiversity and associated multifunctional ecosystem service provision are maximised, improving community well-being.
FACILITATORY (PUBLIC) BODIES:
green spaces department; planning and development department; environmental and sustainability department; community development department; health and social well-being department
LOCAL TASK FORCE:
professional expert; researcher; local or regional authority; community group
dense inner city; urban region; (sub-)urban communities
MAIN NECESSARY RESOURCES ARE:
space; expert knowledge; local knowledge; community trust; personnel time; public institutional set-up
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