Urban inhabitants are suffering from air pollution, noise, and urban heat island effect. These problems are affecting people’s lives daily, in the long-term, and their health. Urban Green Infrastructure (UGI) can ameliorate these problems and simultaneously function as recreational spaces and carbon sinks. But city space is sparse and generally does not allow for large-scale greening plans. Instead, urban planners are looking for ways to tackle these problems using small-scale green and blue elements (e.g. trees, grass, gardens, and water). Up to date, most local governments lack access to information that can help them design the green space policies needed at specific locations: information about the effectiveness of different green space types in ameliorating different city problems, and information about the acceptance of green space designs by local residents.
The world is becoming increasingly urbanised. The concentration of buildings, commerce, traffic, and people in cities leads to soil sealing, heat, pollution, and biodiversity loss. In this context, climate change poses additional challenges to established and evolving cities, especially in terms of increasing urban flood risk and heat stress.
The methodology provided by this tool helps to map and quantify these so-called ecosystem services such as air purification, carbon storage, noise reduction, water retention, cooling, and recreation. It can be used to assess the ecosystem services provided by eight different types of UGI: street trees, short shrubbery, tall shrubbery, herbaceous vegetation, woodland, private gardens, water bodies, and other green spaces such as allotment gardens and sports fields.
In addition, the tool offers a method to gauge the acceptance of UGI design by local residents. This method includes the assessment of people’s awareness of urban heat and flooding, their problem perception, their perception of green space benefits, their preferences for green-blue adaptation measures, and their willingness to pay for such measures. By knowing where public awareness is lacking, and how public opinion can be influenced by environmental education efforts, urban planners can better target their UGI policies and prioritize alternative designs.
Urban Green Infrastructure can mitigate negative side-effects of urbanization such as noise, heat, and stormwater runoff, as well as provide space for recreational activities with positive effects on flora and fauna, and community interaction. The understanding of public perception and preferences on UGI design is key for an effective and long-term solution that can moderate climate change impacts and hence, ensure healthy and liveable cities for the future.
FACILITATORY (PUBLIC) BODIES:
planning and development department; land use planning department; green spaces department; water and sewerage management department; community development department; policy development department; environmental and sustainability department
LOCAL TASK FORCE:
community group; professional expert; researcher; local or regional authority
dense inner city; urban region; (sub-)urban communities
MAIN NECESSARY RESOURCES ARE:
public institutional set-up; space; monetary investments; community trust; expert knowledge; legal legitimisation
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