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Integrating Ecosystem Services, Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based Solutions—New Perspectives in Sustainable Urban Land Management: Combining Knowledge About Urban Nature for Action

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Global urbanisation comprises both urban sprawl and increasing densification of existing cities. Along with the heat waves, floods and droughts associated with climate change, urbanisation challenges our cities, and thus the places where soon 60% of the world’s population will live. In addition to human beings and their health, nature and biodiversity are under extreme pressure to function and to survive in these growing urban systems. More and more key biodiversity areas (KBAs) are becoming urbanised, and wetlands are being sealed. However, ecosystems are crucial for a healthy and safe life in cities. So how should we save urban nature as a habitat for humans, flora and fauna? This chapter presents three concepts that provide different perspectives for sustainable urban land management. They represent complementary paths to increased urban sustainability. Nonetheless, implementation is still a long way off, and moreover, unsolved issues still exist, such as the social inclusiveness of the three approaches.
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Chapter 16
Integrating Ecosystem Services, Green
Infrastructure and Nature-Based
Solutions—New Perspectives
in Sustainable Urban Land Management
Combining Knowledge About Urban Nature for Action
Dagmar Haase
Abstract Global urbanisation comprises both urban sprawl and increasing densifi-
cation of existing cities. Along with the heat waves, floods and droughts associated
with climate change, urbanisation challenges our cities, and thus the places where
soon 60% of the world’s population will live. In addition to human beings and their
health, nature and biodiversity are under extreme pressure to function and to survive
in these growing urban systems. More and more key biodiversity areas (KBAs) are
becoming urbanised, and wetlands are being sealed. However, ecosystems are crucial
for a healthy and safe life in cities. So how should we save urban nature as a habitat for
humans, flora and fauna? This chapter presents three concepts that provide different
perspectives for sustainable urban land management. They represent complementary
paths to increased urban sustainability. Nonetheless, implementation is still a long
way off, and moreover, unsolved issues still exist, such as the social inclusiveness of
the three approaches.
Keywords Ecosystem services ·Green infrastructure ·Nature-based solutions ·
Complementary approaches for sustainable land use
16.1 Challenges in Urban Land Management: The Case
of European Cities
Urbanisation and urban growth are two overarching phenomena in land use develop-
ment affecting areas around the planet. Worldwide, more than 55% of the population
lives and works in cities, and this trend does not seem to be subsiding (Haase et al.
D. Haase (B
)
Department of Geography, Humboldt Universität Zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin,
Germany
e-mail: dagmar.haase@geo.hu-berlin.de;dagmar.haase@ufz.de
Department of Computational Landscape Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental
Research—UFZ, Permoserstrasse 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
© The Author(s) 2021
T. Weith et al. (eds.), Sustainable Land Management in a European Context,
Human-Environment Interactions 8, https://doi.org/10.1007/978- 3-030-50841-8_16
305
306 D. Haase
2018). Europe, a continent that became urbanised relatively early, is stagnating in
population growth terms, but cities as such are becoming attractive places to move
to (Scheuer et al. 2016; Wolff et al. 2018). Indeed, land take in and around cities is
not only not subsiding in Europe—it is accelerating. In addition, when considering
the per capita living space increase over the past few decades along with the average
decrease in household sizes in Europe (Haase et al. 2013), land has become a scarce
resource in cities. Recent construction activities are no longer exclusively concen-
trated on the urban periphery; on the contrary, densification of inner-city areas and
infill development are high on the agenda (Wolff and Haase 2019).
Densification by infill development automatically leads to a decline and a partial
complete disappearance of (spots of) nature in city centres (Haase et al. 2018), despite
the fact that such areas are often high-value nature areas with a rich biodiversity, due
to the wetland and riverine locations of many cities (Kühn et al. 2004). At the same
time, we still find peri-urbanisation and land take outside the city cores on formerly
arable ground, resulting in a decline in fertile land (Nilsson et al. 2014). Thus, the
face of urban growth in European cities is multifaceted and does not include the
considerable percentage of cities and towns in Europe that are shrinking (Wolff et al.
2018).
While growing and densifying, cities also face the direct consequences of ongoing
climate change, such as long-lasting and early heat waves (as the summers of 2018
and 2019 recently demonstrated) including “tropical night” temperatures exceeding
20 °C. This is clearly a challenge for urban public health, in particular for an ageing
urban population in a densely built area (Bosch and Sang 2017). At the same time,
high daytime temperatures and continuous irradiance are a challenge for urban tree
and shrub vegetation, which already suffers from the lack of rainfall. Therefore, heat
has become one of the key challenges for entire urban systems in Europe, including
the environment, public health and the economy, especially when considering cities
that attract (mass) tourism (such as Vienna, Rome and Berlin).
In addition to heat, an increasing risk of flooding in lowland and coastal cities
(Barcelona and Genoa after heavy rainfall, as well as Bosnia, Croatia or Germany
after heavy rainfall and stationary depressions in the past decade) appears to be
another key challenge for European cities (Scheuer et al. 2017). As cities increasingly
accumulate economic value and, of course, human life, the frequency and degree of
hazardous flood events need to be incorporated into a more sustainable and flood-
proof urban land management (Krysanova et al. 2008). The case of drought and water
shortages is similar, which have recently often alternated with floods: most European
cities are not well prepared for longer-term water shortage and extreme irradiance.
However, cities in Europe are also places of great vestiges of nature (Haase
and Gläser 2009). In addition to the above-mentioned wetlands and riverine land
strips, cities harbour old forests, large parks, numerous gardens and green back-
yards. Recently, urban green ground infrastructure has been complemented by “ver-
tical green” such as green rooftops and living walls (Pauleit et al. 2018). Moreover,
we know about the positive effects of urban green and blue spaces in cities when
dealing with high air temperatures and irradiance (Weber et al. 2014a). We know the
positive effects of green space for public health and the prevention of heart or lung
16 Integrating Ecosystem Services, Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based … 307
disease, as well as “lifestyle diseases”, such as obesity and diabetes (very frequent
in cities with a high poverty rate), and mental disease, such as depression or anxiety
disorders (Gruebner and McCay 2019; Gruebner et al. 2017).
Thus, the major research question guiding this chapter of the book will be: How
we can make use of urban nature and knowledge about nature to protect human
life and, at the same time, protect nature from severe and hazardous conditions and
events? Are there forms of urban land management that allow us to effectively and
sensibly harness nature for human benefits, leading to more sustainable urban land
use?
This chapter provides novel insights by discussing various concepts and the
potential to integrate them into cities.
16.2 Three Concepts for One Goal
The next few pages will introduce three different approaches and concepts dealing
with urban nature for sustainable cities:
Urban ecosystem services (demand, flow, supply; Haase et al. 2014),
Green infrastructure and green infrastructure types (Pauleit et al. 2018) and
Nature-based solutions (Nesshoever et al. 2017).
All three concepts are interrelated and have a complementary character to a certain
degree (Table 16.1 and Fig. 16.1). Urban ecosystem services (ES) focus on the
processes and structure of urban nature and the beneficial effects of ecosystem process
outcomes for people—in the case of this chapter, urban residents and urban society as
a whole (Haase et al. 2014). Urban green infrastructure (UGI) can be understood as a
strategic planning approach that takes these functional benefits of ES for “granted”;
it thus aims to develop networks of green and blue spaces in urban areas, designed
and managed to deliver a wide range of ES and other benefits at all spatial scales
(Pauleit et al. 2018; EEA website). Finally, the concept of nature-based solutions
(NBS) focuses on problems and challenges of an environmental or a social nature.
NBS harnesses the ES functional approach and the design concept of green (blue)
infrastructure to adapt both ES and UGI to the distinct and specific needs of cities.
NBS, therefore, can be defined as living solutions that are inspired and supported
by nature, which are cost-effective, whilst simultaneously providing environmental,
social and economic benefits and helping to increase resilience and adaptation to
climate change (Kabisch et al. 2017).
308 D. Haase
Table 16.1 Core properties of the three “green approaches” to sustainable urban land management
(own conceptualisation and content compilation)
Urban ecosystem
services
Urban green
infrastructure
Nature-based solutions
for cities
Basic response or
“working” units
Ecosystems (patterns
and processes) and
elements of them, such
as soils, the water cycle
and trees in an urban
environment
Vegetation and
vegetation types, their
design and
management in a city
Materials, structures
and processes that
function as, or like,
ecosystems
How the approach
works, or the idea
behind it
Outcomes of ecosystem
processes represent
flows of material or
energy that facilitate
human life in cities, e.g.
temperature cooling or
water purification by
soil sediment fixation
Elements of vegetation
are planted and/or
designed as well as
maintained to make use
of their ecosystem
service flows for
human well-being
Elements of nature are
either used or
constructed (mimicry)
to produce ecosystem
service flows to address
issues related to
climate change (solve
the temperature
problem) or facilitate
human life in cities
Role of society Beneficiaries of flows
from ecosystem
services at both
individual and societal
level; reduction of
replacement costs
Users of the green
infrastructure, whether
as recreational users in
parks or as urban
gardeners (to provide
two examples)
Active engagement in
the (co-)development
and (co-)design of
nature (mimicry) and
monitoring NBS
success
State of
implementation
Partly in
implementation in
cities; still criticism of
the concept; ES
indicators are in proper
use in most urban
planning departments
across Europe
Widely implemented
and refined in European
cities; suffers from
limited municipal
budgets, but is also
implemented through
NGO and citizen-based
activities and
programmes
Novel approach, with
most implementations
in flood management
and climate adaptation
in bigger cities across
Europe, less in food
production or
environmental
education
16.3 Ecosystem Services, or the Benefits Nature Provides
to Urban Populations
What are ecosystem services? Urban green and blue spaces deliver a number of
ecosystem services (ES) that contribute to maintaining the physical and mental health
of urban dwellers, improving their quality of life. Urban ecosystems in cities provide
regulatory (air temperature and humidity regulation), cultural (recreation, tourism)
and basic provisioning services (food, forage) to people (Haase et al. 2014;Fig.16.2).
Accordingly, healthy ecosystems deliver these services to a proper extent; degraded
ones to a much lower extent, if at all (McPhearson et al. 2016).
16 Integrating Ecosystem Services, Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based … 309
ES – verƟcal and
horizontal – using
ecosystem structure
and ows
ES – verƟcal and
horizontal – using
ecosystem structure
and ows UGI as the way ES
are designed and
managed by society
UGI as the way ES
are designed and
managed by society
(Re-)Construct ES
supply and ows
using UGI and blue
elements
(Re-)Construct ES
supply and ows
using UGI and blue
elements
Expected impact/eect to make urban land management more sustainable
Fig. 16.1 Main links, partial overlaps and the differences between the three concepts (own sketch)
Provisioning ES
Major outcomes and products
from urban ecosystems
Food (gardens, urban
agriculture)
Fresh Water (rivers,
groundwater, wetlands)
GeneƟc resources (urban
biodiversity)
Provisioning ES
Major outcomes and products
from urban ecosystems
Food (gardens, urban
agriculture)
Fresh Water (rivers,
groundwater, wetlands)
GeneƟc resources (urban
biodiversity)
RegulaƟng ES
Material benets urban residents
can obtain from urban ecosystems
Climate regulaƟon (green
spaces)
Flood regulaƟon (open spaces)
Water puricaƟon (soils,
sediments)
PollinaƟon (urban biodiversity)
Disease regulaƟon (geneƟc
diversity of plants and animals)
RegulaƟng ES
Material benets urban residents
can obtain from urban ecosystems
Climate regulaƟon (green
spaces)
Flood regulaƟon (open spaces)
Water puricaƟon (soils,
sediments)
PollinaƟon (urban biodiversity)
Disease regulaƟon (geneƟc
diversity of plants and animals)
Cultural ES
Non-material benets urban
residents can obtain from urban
ecosystems
RecreaƟon (green spaces)
Tourism (green & blue spaces)
AestheƟcs (parks, gardens,
green walls)
InspiraƟonal, Sense of place
EducaƟon (gardens, green)
Social cohesion (parks, gardens)
Cultural ES
Non-material benets urban
residents can obtain from urban
ecosystems
RecreaƟon (green spaces)
Tourism (green & blue spaces)
AestheƟcs (parks, gardens,
green walls)
InspiraƟonal, Sense of place
EducaƟon (gardens, green)
Social cohesion (parks, gardens)
SupporƟng ES
Funcons (processes) of urban ecosystems needed for the producon of all ES
Soil formaƟon
Nutrient cycling
Primary producƟon (energy)
SupporƟng ES
Funcons (processes) of urban ecosystems needed for the producon of all ES
Soil formaƟon
Nutrient cycling
Primary producƟon (energy)
Fig. 16.2 Urban ES classifications with examples for typical urban infrastructures providing the
respective services (own compilation)
The increasing frequency of heat waves have confronted Europe’s urban residents
with very high day and “tropical night” (>20 °C) temperatures (Weber et al. 2014a);
moreover, they are exposed to particulate matter and traffic noise (Weber et al. 2014b).
These environmental pressures can impair human health and result in higher illness,
morbidity and mortality rates, as well as impaired mental health (Adli 2017). Europe’s
growing elderly population is particularly vulnerable to these problems (Gruebner
310 D. Haase
et al. 2017). Illnesses caused by heat and pollution dramatically limit the quality of
life in cities and incur major costs to urban society, especially for healthcare, as well
as reducing labour capacity.
Regulatory ES provided by intact ecosystems definitely and effectively help to
minimise these environmental pressures (TEEB Germany 2017): During spring and
summer heat waves, such as Europe has experienced in 2018 and 2019, there is a
significant increase in illness, morbidity and mortality rates (Gabriel and Endlicher
2011). For example, estimates of up to 5% of deaths in the city of Berlin are linked to
heat (Gabriel and Endlicher 2011). Urban vegetation such as trees as well as various
grasslands and meadows can significantly reduce peak summer temperatures (Weber
et al. 2014a). Records show that a green space measuring 50 to 100 m wide is up
to 3 °C cooler on hot, wind-still days than the surrounding developed area (Pauleit
et al. 2018). Moreover, green spaces have a cooling impact on their direct urban
surroundings (Andersson et al. 2019). In addition to heat relief, urban green spaces
play a major role in air pollution control (Pauleit et al. 2018). Trees filter particulates
by between 5 and 15%, depending on height, density and configuration (Weber
et al. 2014a). In residential neighbourhoods, nature is especially beneficial to human
health, as green spaces invite residents to spend time outdoors and to participate
in active recreation such as sports, games, or even passive nature enjoyment and
relaxation (Rall et al. 2017). A number of studies have provided very good and clear
evidence that being outdoors supports reductions of aggression and anxiety, and, vice
versa, raises concentration and performance levels across all age groups (Bosch and
Sang 2017).
In terms of urban society and the social life in cities, which are also core concerns
of urban land management, healthy ecosystems contribute to strengthening social
cohesion by providing “aesthetic places for communication” (Kremer et al. 2016).
When freely accessible, urban parks, gardens, rivers and lakes serve as refuges for
urban residents to go to for multiple leisure and social activities with family and
friends (Voigt et al. 2014). Allotments and community gardens facilitate encounters,
joint activities and intercultural exchange (Pauleit et al. 2018). Growing local food
in the city—be it in different types of gardens, on balconies or in abandoned ceme-
teries—increases urban self-sufficiency (Rodríguez-Rodríguez et al. 2015), and, at
the same time, raises awareness about regional and healthy food (counteracting
problems such as obesity among children and adults). Thus, recreational ecosystem
services contribute to urban public health in multiple ways. However, these ES only
arise if all groups of residents see these aforementioned green spaces as available,
accessible, and attractive (Biernacka and Kronenberg 2018). With respect to the last
of these, one key component of this attractiveness of green spaces is biodiversity—
and is something that park users recognise (Fischer et al. 2018). This is a clear signal
for more and better (more consistent) nature conservation in cities for ensuring the
delivery of necessary ES.
Many of the aforementioned ES that nature delivers in cities are to a large extent
neglected or simply ignored by urban planners and decision-makers dealing with land
use and urban landscape/surface design (Kain et al. 2016; Kaczorowska et al. 2016;
TEEB Germany 2017). Thus, the ES concept that is proposed here is a tool focusing
16 Integrating Ecosystem Services, Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based … 311
Ecosystem services
(process outcomes)
SUPPLY
Ecosystem services
(process outcomes)
SUPPLY
Ecosystem services
(linkage, transport, access)
FLOW
Ecosystem services
(linkage, transport, access)
FLOW
Society system
(benets and values)
DEMAND
Society system
(benets and values)
DEMAND
Urban policy and decision-making
MANAGEMENT AND PLANNING
Ecosystem services
(mis-)matches
Ecosystem services
NON-
SUSTAINABILITY
Capacity < Flow
Ecosystem services
SUSTAINABILITY
Capacity =/> Flow
Fig. 16.3 Adapted cascade of urban ES supply, flow, and demand, and its incorporation into land
management [building on earlier diagrams by Baró et al. (2017), Potschin and Haines-Young (2011),
Villamagna et al. (2013) and Geijzendorffer et al. (2015)]
on the functional outcomes of nature’s processes in urban areas; it can be used as
both a planning and a monitoring tool in urban decision-making for fairer, more
sustainable land use in our growing cities to balance density, social-environmental
segregation and species loss (Fig. 16.3; McDonald et al. 2019).
16.4 Designing nature’s Benefits into Green Urban
Infrastructure in Cities
A second approach that appears promising for more sustainable urban land use
through management and design is the urban green infrastructure (UGI) approach
(Pauleit et al. 2018). The idea behind UGI is based on the principle that protecting and
enhancing nature and natural processes are consciously integrated into urban spatial
planning. UGI, in this sense, can be framed as a strategically planned network of
(semi-)natural areas together with other natural features designed and managed to
deliver a wide range of ES in the urban context (EEA 2019).
In contrast to common human-made, means-constructed, urban infrastructure
approaches that often serve a single purpose, UGI’s “living system” character entails
multifunctionality; the elements or types of UGI can offer multiple benefits and flows
of benefits—urban ecosystem services—provided that ecosystems are in a healthy
state (Pauleit et al. 2018; Andersson et al. 2019): A single park supports not only
climate change adaptation and mitigation, but also active and passive recreation,
including educational benefits, and increases species biodiversity (Andersson et al.
2015;Ralletal.2017). The multifunctional performance of such single infrastructure
312 D. Haase
Heat, drought,
extreme
insolaƟon, missing
space, pests
Fig. 16.4 Types of UGI allocated by a multifunctional element of UGI—the urban tree. UGI can
provide multiple benefits if it is healthy; if not, no flows of ES can be expected (tree by https://gun
nisontree.com/tell-tree-dead-just-needs-water/)
units supports a more sustainable yet still resource-efficient urban land development
process in European cities, where both space and resources are limited (Andersson
et al. 2019).
UGI comprises a wide range of environmental features that operate at different
scales—from the neighbourhood to the region—and in the best case these features
form part of an interconnected ecological of new green infrastructure and other
sustainability investments in cities have to accrue to positive outcomes for low-
income and underprivileged residents as well, respecting their ideas and recreational
needs equal to that of the wealthier part of urban society, which dominates discourse
(Haase et al., 2017) (Fig. 16.4).
16.5 ES and UGI as Nature-Based Solutions to Urban Land
Management Challenges?
A third approach has also started to emerge, making use of urban nature for more
sustainable land management in cities and urban regions: nature-based solutions
(NBS). According to the IUCN, NBS are defined as “actions to protect, sustain-
16 Integrating Ecosystem Services, Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based … 313
ably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal chal-
lenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and
biodiversity benefits” (Cohen-Shacham et al. 2016). NBS are intended to support
attaining society’s development goals and safeguarding human well-being in ways
that (a) reflect the cultural and societal values of a multi-origin urban society, and
(b) enhance the resilience of urban ecosystems, and their capacity to provide the
aforementioned ES (Kabisch et al. 2016a,b). NBS are designed nature—similar to
UGI—that are implemented to address the urban challenges listed in the introduc-
tion of this chapter: food security, climate change, water shortage, human health, and
disaster risk (Nesshoever et al. 2017).
NBS are based on both the ES and UGI concepts, but are novel in that they
are conceptualised and implemented (Table 16.2): NBS always address a specific
urban challenge, such as shown in Fig. 16.5, using the single planted tree as an
example. NBS can be implemented as individual measures, or in an integrated
manner combined with additional “grey” (i.e. technological, engineering or digital)
solutions to urban challenges. Compared to city-wide ES flows and UGI networks,
Table 16.2 Classification of NBS in cities (modified from Cohen-Shacham et al. 2016)
Category of NBS Approaches Examples from urban land management
Restoration NBS approaches Ecological restoration of wetlands, riparian forests and
brownfields (including natural succession of grasslands)
Ecological engineering (co-creation of new parks at
brownfield sites)
Forest landscape restoration (reforestation of former forest
sites and afforestation of urban brownfields)
Adaptation NBS approaches Ecosystem-based adaptation (using functional adaptation and
mutation properties of ecosystems, such as adapted species or
populations)
Ecosystem-based mitigation
Climate adaptation ecosystem services (using the
transpiration and evaporation functions of vegetation and
soils)
Ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (retention properties
of open soil and natural wetlands)
Infrastructure NBS approaches Blue infrastructure (design of water-depending sites such as
ponds or constructed wetlands)
Green infrastructure (design of parks, gardens, green roofs
and walls)
Management NBS approaches Integrated coastal zone management (stormwater zones and
coastal dune protection)
Integrated water resources management (constructed
wetlands, bioswales, rain gardens at rooftop level, river
revitalisation, floodplain de-sealing)
Conservation NBS approaches Locally based nature and biodiversity conservation
approaches, including management of protected areas (urban
national parks and biosphere reserves, nature playgrounds,
beekeeping in cities, old tree maintenance)
314 D. Haase
Urban Green
Infrastructure
Tree
Urban Green
Infrastructure
Tree
Urban Ecosystem
Services (supply)
Evapotranspiraon
Carbon sequestraon
Parcle ltering
Urban Ecosystem
Services (supply)
Evapotranspiraon
Carbon sequestraon
Parcle ltering
Urban Ecosystem
Services (ow)
CC adaptaon
Air cooling (cool air)
Air quality (fresh air)
Urban Ecosystem
Services (ow)
CC adaptaon
Air cooling (cool air)
Air quality (fresh air)
Urban Ecosystem
Services (demand)
Less air cond. Costs
CO2market: net win
Less health costs
Urban Ecosystem
Services (demand)
Less air cond. Costs
CO2market: net win
Less health costs
Fig. 16.5 How an urban NBS works and how it can be related to the concepts of urban ES and
UGI (own sketch)
NBS are often determined by site-specific natural and social-cultural contexts. NBS
recognise and address existing trade-offs between the production of a few imme-
diate health or economic benefits or risk reduction, and future (time-dependent)
options for the production of the full range of ES flows and UGI network habitat and
population-related effects, again as shown in Fig. 16.5, using the single planted tree
as a multifunctional and long-living example (Nesshoever et al. 2017).
A recent review study reports, on the one hand, that, despite a lack of consensus
about a single “final” definition of NBS, there is a shared understanding among Euro-
pean stakeholders that the NBS concept encompasses human and ecological benefits
beyond the core objective of ecosystem conservation, restoration or enhancement.
On the other hand, the study also reveals that resources are often limited in city
municipalities, and each city has different needs. This makes it critical to prioritise
the challenges NBS is to address during the urban land use planning process (Ershad
Sarabi et al. 2019).
16.6 Conclusions for Sustainable Urban Land
Management in the Future
The absolute strength of the three concepts and approaches introduced here lies
in their combination and complementarity of functionality, design, management and
straightforward implementation, as well as problem-based orientation to make urban
land management more sustainable. Supply and demand as well as flows of nature are
central in all three concepts. The complementary concepts link different disciplines
and disciplinary strengths, bringing them all together towards a new approach in
sustainable urban land management.
16 Integrating Ecosystem Services, Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based … 315
A clear weakness of all three approaches is that they neither include nor address
one of the most crucial urban social and democracy-related questions of today: justice
and fairness questions at the local—i.e. city—level are almost neglected. At the global
level, telecouplings have not even been touched (Haase 2019), and thus urbanisation
at the global level is difficult to tackle with any of the three concepts, although papers
have already been published on global principles and upscaling from single cities
and urban areas.
Acknowledgements Dagmar Haase’s research was supported by Project ENABLE, funded via the
2015–2016 BiodivERsA COFUND call for research proposals. National funders of the project were
the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences, and Spatial Planning, the
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the German Aeronautics and Space Research Centre,
the National Science Centre (Poland), the Research Council of Norway and the Spanish Ministry
of Economy and Competitiveness.
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Climate change presents one of the greatest challenges to society today. Effects on nature and people are first experienced in cities as cities form microcosms with extreme temperature gradients, and by now, about half of the human population globally lives in urban areas. Climate change has significant impact on ecosystem functioning and well-being of people. Climatic stress leads to a decrease in the distribution of typical native species and influences society through health-related effects and socio-economic impacts by increased numbers of heat waves, droughts and flooding events. In addition to climate change, urbanisation and the accompanying increases in the number and size of cities are impacting ecosystems with a number of interlinked pressures. These pressures include loss and degradation of natural areas, soil sealing and the densification of built-up areas, which pose additional significant challenges to ecosystem functionality, the provision of ecosystem services and human well-being in cities around the world. However, nature-based solutions have the potential to counteract these pressures. Nature-based solutions (NBS) can foster and simplify implementation actions in urban landscapes by taking into account the services provided by nature. They include provision of urban green such as parks and street trees that may ameliorate high temperature in cities or regulate air and water flows or the allocation of natural habitat space in floodplains that may buffer impacts of flood events. Architectural solutions for buildings, such as green roofs and wall installations, may reduce temperature and save energy. This book brings together experts from science, policy and practice to provide an overview of our current state of knowledge on the effectiveness and implementation of nature-based solutions and their potential to the provision of ecosystem services, for climate change adaptation and co-benefits in urban areas. Scientific evidence to climate change adaptation is presented, and a further focus is on the potential of nature-based approaches to accelerate urban sustainability transitions and create additional, multiple health and social benefits. The book discusses socio-economic implications in relation to socio-economic equity, fairness and justice considerations when implementing NBS.
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Urbanisation is one of the most important global change processes. As the share of people in, and the footprint of, urban areas continues to grow globally and locally, understanding urbanisation processes and resulting land-use change is increasingly important with respect to natural resource use, socio-demographics, health and environmental change. The concept of urban telecouplings (UTs) describes how land-use change and the usage of environmental, economic and cultural resources by urban dwellers are not limited to cities or their direct surroundings but span across the globe. This chapter discusses how UTs are initiated, in which way they occur, what agents might be involved and what are the respective positive effects on land and land change at both places, the sending system and the distant receiving system. The chapter concludes that UT represents a new type of hybridisation of culture and environmental behaviour that is traditionally seen as a by-product of globalisation, but might be one core property of urbanisation.
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The main goal of this article is to identify and classify institutional barriers which prevent the use of urban green spaces (UGS) at three levels: availability (whether a UGS exists), accessibility (whether it is physically and psychologically accessible, e.g., not fenced off), and attractiveness (whether it is attractive enough for potential users to visit). We reviewed the impacts on UGS provision exerted by different actors (individuals, formal and informal groups, community councils, city authorities, national governmental and non-governmental organizations), along with the relevant institutional foundations of those impacts. As a result, we identified and classified the different barriers for which these actors are responsible in the case of fifteen UGS types in our case study city, Lodz (Łódź) in Poland. The main barriers at different levels concern conflicting interests, physical barriers (private green spaces), and the lack of funds, together with legal and governmental failures (public green spaces). These barriers result from the different actors’ mandates or lack thereof. Our analysis has implications for the operationalization of UGS availability, accessibility and attractiveness, and, in particular, for mapping UGS and setting the relevant indicators and thresholds for UGS availability, accessibility and attractiveness.
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The role of urban parks in delivering cultural ecosystem services related to outdoor recreation is widely acknowledged. Yet, the question remains as to whether the recreational opportunities of parks meet the demands of increasingly multicultural societies and whether recreational patterns vary at spatial scales. In a pan-European survey, we assessed how people use urban parks (in five cities, N=3814) and how recreational patterns relate to respondents’ sociocultural and geographical contexts (using 19 explanatory variables). Our results show that across Europe (i) respondents share a general pattern in their recreational activities with a prevalence for the physical uses of parks, especially taking a walk; (ii) the geographic context matters, demonstrating a high variety of uses across the cities; and that (iii) the sociocultural context is also important; e.g., the occupation and biodiversity valuations of respondents are significantly associated with the uses performed. The sociocultural context matters particularly for physical park uses and is associated to a lesser extent with nature-related uses. Given that our results attest to a high variety of park uses between sociocultural groups and the geographical context, we conclude that it is important to consider the specific backgrounds of people to enhance recreational ecosystem services in greenspace development.