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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,
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, 3-030-50841-8_16
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.
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
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
Urban green
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
Vegetation and
vegetation types, their
design and
management in a city
Materials, structures
and processes that
function as, or like,
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
State of
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
Novel approach, with
most implementations
in flood management
and climate adaptation
in bigger cities across
Europe, less in food
production or
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
(Re-)Construct ES
supply and ows
using UGI and blue
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
Fresh Water (rivers,
groundwater, wetlands)
GeneƟc resources (urban
Provisioning ES
Major outcomes and products
from urban ecosystems
Food (gardens, urban
Fresh Water (rivers,
groundwater, wetlands)
GeneƟc resources (urban
RegulaƟng ES
Material benets urban residents
can obtain from urban ecosystems
Climate regulaƟon (green
Flood regulaƟon (open spaces)
Water puricaƟon (soils,
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
Flood regulaƟon (open spaces)
Water puricaƟon (soils,
PollinaƟon (urban biodiversity)
Disease regulaƟon (geneƟc
diversity of plants and animals)
Cultural ES
Non-material benets urban
residents can obtain from urban
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
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)
Ecosystem services
(process outcomes)
Ecosystem services
(linkage, transport, access)
Ecosystem services
(linkage, transport, access)
Society system
(benets and values)
Society system
(benets and values)
Urban policy and decision-making
Ecosystem services
Ecosystem services
Capacity < Flow
Ecosystem services
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,
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
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
Ecosystem-based mitigation
Climate adaptation ecosystem services (using the
transpiration and evaporation functions of vegetation and
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
Urban Green
Urban Ecosystem
Services (supply)
Carbon sequestraon
Parcle ltering
Urban Ecosystem
Services (supply)
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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... Global urbanization includes both urban sprawl and growing density of existing urban areas. Along with temperature anomalies, floods and droughts related to climate change, urbanization is a challenge for our cities and thus for the geographical concentrations, where about 60% of the world's population will soon live (Haase 2021). These problems lead to changes in the structure and functions of urban ecosystems, and therefore in the societal benefits and ecosystem services they provide. ...
... The inclusion of ecosystem services in urban plans is considered a testament to their quality, and on this basis is an indicator of the ability to take strategic action towards more sustainable cities (Geneletti et al., 2020). Over the last year, we have witnessed innovative concepts integrating urban green infrastructure, ecosystem services and nature-based solutions for sustainable and flexible urban governance (Almenar, 2021;Haase, 2021). ...
... The ecosystem service 'maintaining nursery populations and habitats, including gene pool protection' can be a very important indicator of the sustainability of this chain. It is the path to the development of sustainable and flexible cities through the combination of the three concepts (green infrastructure, ecosystem services and nature-based solutions), which provides a different perspective for sustainable management of urban areas (Haase, 2021). ...
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Natural habitats and their biodiversity are usually associated with protected areas, incompatible with direct anthropogenic influence. Is there a biodiversity in urban environment, what is the role of peri-urban areas to the provision of species richness and is their potential being properly utilized? These are current issues that deserve the attention of decision-makers because the human's need of natural environment in cities is expressed more intensely than in any previous period in history. Green and blue infrastructure elements, being part of the larger system of urban ecosystems, provide an essential and proven benefits to the city dwellers, like health improvement, opportunities for nature-based daily outdoor recreation, strengthening sense of place etc. The main objective of this research is to assess this part of the landscape elements in urban and peri-urban environment, which are most supportive to the maintenance of habitats and their biodiversity. Selected Functional urban area with center city of Burgas is choosen for a case study. The urban ecosystems are assessed in GIS environment with unified indicator (based on City Biodiversity Index approach) according to 5 criteria: hemeroby index, share of protected areas, fragmentation index, presence of water and species richness. The assessment is performed on two spatial levels: within Functional urban area by Urban Atlas spatial units and within urban core – by grid cells (local climate zones). The final higher scores identify areas that provide the greatest extent the maintenance of habitats and their biodiversity. The results could support the urban planning and help to optimize the link between the natural elements within the Functional urban areas, providing ecological, economic and social benefits to the regions through the enhancement of the urban ecosystem’s functions and their services.
... Son yıllarda, ulusal ve uluslararası literatürde sürdürülebilirlik konulu planlama çalışmalarında arazi örtüsü/arazi kullanımı ve yeşil altyapı yaklaşımı öne çıkmıştır (Grabowski vd., 2022;Latasa vd., 2022;Marando vd., 2022;Yaralıoğlu ve Asilsoy, 2021). Bu doğrultuda ekoloji ve ekosistem hizmetleri çalışmaları doğanın sürdürülebilir kullanımını ve insanların refahını iyileştiren yeşil altyapı başta olmak üzere farklı altyapılarla ilgili hale gelmiştir (Haase, 2021;Sun vd., 2022). Kentler ve kırsal alanlarda yeşil altyapının yanında üst ölçekte arazi kullanımlarını tanımlamak için diğer arazi örtüsü türlerine de benzer terminoloji uygulanabilir. ...
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Basins formed by ecological resource have several indispensable natural values for human well-being as a part of natural landscapes. In this context, determining the different ecological characteristics of the basins is important for the sustainability and management of ecological life. In this study, infrastructures approach was applied to analyze topography and land use of the Burdur Basin. At this point, the study area was determined as green, blue, yellow, and grey infrastructures and analyzed with the topography, slope, and aspect features of the study area. Image classification utilized as a part of remote sensing of Sentinel-2A satellite images, and because of the accuracy analysis, the Kappa were calculated 0.86. In the study, NDVI, NDWI and SAVI indices were used and analyzed with infrastructure systems to determine the infrastructure identification potential of these indices. As a result, it has been determined that yellow infrastructures cover more area compared to other infrastructure types, green, blue and grey infrastructures and the yellow infrastructure, respectively. According to the indices, the NDVI index has the most infrastructures identification potential for the study area. Consequently, the dominant infrastructure type in the study area was found to be yellow infrastructure. Yellow infrastructure is followed by green, blue, and gray infrastructures respectively.
... However, there is a growing literature on ecological engineering, green and blue infrastructure, ecosystem services, and nature-based solutions exploring green contributions to urban resilience (e.g., Refs. [17][18][19]). The SEU-approach shares many similarities with other interrelated urban design approaches. ...
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This paper describes a new approach in urban ecological design, referred to as social– ecological urbanism (SEU). It draws from research in resilience thinking and space syntax in the analysis of relationships between urban processes and urban form at the microlevel of cities, where social and ecological services are directly experienced by urban dwellers. The paper elaborates on three types of media for urban designers to intervene in urban systems, including urban form, institutions, and discourse, that together function as a significant enabler of urban change. The paper ends by presenting four future research frontiers with a potential to advance the field of social–ecological urbanism: (1) urban density and critical biodiversity thresholds, (2) human and non-human movement in urban space, (3) the retrofitting of urban design, and (4) reversing the trend of urban ecological illiteracy through affordance designs that connect people with nature and with each other.
... Mitigation strategies are crucial for urban sustainability and human wellbeing under climate change (He et al., 2022;Wu, 2014). Understanding land with sustainable management can help build an effective relationship between humans and nature (Haase, 2021). ...
The planning for cooling cities is crucial for sustainable development under the influence of climate change. However, urban warming mitigation across human-natural systems is scarce. This research aims at characterizing land surface temperature with the integration of land uses and land function with the eight-type spaces, including human systems (H1 residential area, H2 commercial area, H3 public service, H4 open space) and natural systems (N5 natural green, N6 farmland, N7 brownfield, N8 water). We seasonally investigated the LST, its correlation with three indices of spatial components. From the results, NDVI had more impact on LST than NDBI in H1, H3, H4, N6, N7, and N8; while NDBI had more influence than NDVI in H2 and N5; The area of Hot and Very hot classes in human systems is higher than in natural systems. It reveals that mitigating temperature across different urban land use types requires different management of green, grey, and blue infrastructures. The eight-type spaces could explain there are different NDVI and NDBI influences on urban temperature. More attention on urban planning is needed on human systems though increasing building height and combining grey infrastructures with green infrastructures and natural systems requiring decreasing impervious spaces for cooling cities.
... On the basis of TEEB classification of ecosystem types [30] and the framing provided by Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES) V5.1 [31], we elaborated the classification scheme of cemeteries' ecosystem services' research, extending it by our own developed approach which was applied by us in previous studies of ES of different urban green areas [1,25,32,33]. Because this study is geared toward fundamental research in the (new) overlapping field that incorporates the concepts of UGI, BCD, and [1,3,24,25,30,31,34] for green spaces, we used a literature review on ES provided by urban cemeteries and analyses of data on UGI based on different techniques developed and applied by us in previous research [35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42]. Other methodological approaches such as site observation, photo documentation, field notes, and non-participatory observation, were also applied [43][44][45]. ...
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This article presents a pilot study investigating the multidimensional diversity of cemeteries as an important element of cultural heritage and green infrastructure within the urban landscape. We studied the state and diversity of nature, perceptions, and activities of visitors. As religion is an important aspect that differentiates cemeteries from each other, we studied a sample of four multi-confessional urban cemeteries in Łódź (Poland) and Leipzig (Germany) by using site observation and a questionnaire survey. We found that cemeteries are far undervalued as public green resources that can perform important functions in sociocultural life and the mental well-being of the general public, as the perceptions of silence- and contemplation-seeking visitors tell us. The perception of cemeteries depends on the level of secularization, varying from a sacrum sphere up to specific recreational and touristic opportunities; findings that should be considered by town planners when optimizing the cultural ecosystem services of green spaces.
... Among these, urban green space has been widely used to mitigate the UHI effect due to its cooling effects via evapotranspiration and shading (Kong et al., 2014b;Cheng et al., 2014;Jaganmohan et al., 2016;Sun and Chen, 2017). Urban green space has been considered as one of the nature-based solutions approaches to help improve climate change adaption and sustainable land management (Ferrari et al., 2019;Haase, 2021). Major findings from previous studies on the effects of urban green space on UHI can be summarized in the following: 1) the vast majority of urban green spaces have cooling effect on their surroundings, mitigating the UHI, but a few green spaces were warmer than their surroundings (Chang et al., 2007;Cao et al., 2010;Cheng et al., 2014); 2) linear relationships existed between land surface temperature and biophysical parameters such as the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), vegetation fraction at city scales (Weng et al., 2004;Li et al., 2011); 3) nonlinear relationship existed between the size of urban green spaces and their cooling effect when considering the local cool island intensity at patch and class scales (Cao et al., 2010;Cheng et al., 2014;Yu et al., 2017); 4) the landscape pattern of urban green space influenced urban land surface temperature (Li et al., 2011;Zhou et al., 2011;Kong et al., 2014a;Sun and Chen, 2017;Masoudi and Tan, 2019); 5) the surrounding landscape pattern of urban green space affected its cooling effect (Cao et al., 2010;Cheng et al., 2014). ...
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Recently, pocket green spaces (PGS), i.e., small green spaces, have attracted growing attention for their various ecological and social services. As a crucial part of urban green spaces in high-density urban areas, PGS facilitates recreation and relaxation for neighborhoods and thus improves the livability of cities at the local scale. However, whether and how the PGS cools the urban heat island effect is still unclear. This research was performed in the highly developed areas of the city of Shanghai during hot summer daytime. We applied a set of cooling effect indicators to estimate the cooling extent, cooling intensity, and cooling efficiency of PGS. We further examined whether and how landscape features within and surrounding the PGS influence its cooling effects. The results showed that 90% of PGS are cooler than their surroundings. Among the landscape features, the land surface temperature of PGS logarithmically decreased with its area, and the maximum local cool island intensity and maximum cooling area logarithmically increased with the area of PGS. The vegetation types and their composition within the PGS also influenced their surface temperature and the cooling effect. The PGS dominated by tree-shrub-grass showed the highest cooling efficiency. The surrounding landscape patterns, especially the patch density and the landscape shape index, influence the cooling effect of PGS at both class and landscape levels. These findings add new knowledge on factors influencing the cooling effect of PGS, and provide the biophysical theoretical basis for developing nature-based cooling strategies for urban landscape designers and planners.
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The increasing demands of humankind contribute to the scarcity of natural resources and foster climate changes. For this reason, sustainable development has become a fundamental agenda in the twenty-first century. The intense urbanization induces significant changes in the natural water cycle, and this feature, coupled with neglecting the natural water dynamics in the urban planning process, increases the population’s vulnerability to urban floods. In this context, sustainable urban drainage techniques have been proposed to match the urban and natural demands, while preserving or recovering the environmental functions, as much as possible. However, such techniques are often not adopted, even in developed cities, and this fact seems to be related to the improper awareness of the whole set of benefits involved in their use. This article aims to evaluate the economic viability of sustainable urban drainage systems, in a simple and easily acceptable way, considering the ecosystem services provided by green roofs and rainwater harvesting barrels, and including their action in delivering urban revitalization and valorization. The proposed method can be easily used and understood by decision-makers, facilitating its diffusion and use in urban policy-making process. The results showed a best-performing scenario for the rainwater harvesting system with a payback of approximately three years, a benefit-cost ratio of four, and an internal return rate of 45%. The ecosystem service benefits represent 36.3% to 50.8% of total benefits. Graphic abstract
Nature-based Solutions (NbS) have been an increasingly recognized framework that uses naturally occurring processes to maximise the provisioning of ecosystem services and improve the life quality of city dwellers. One of the more widely applied NbS is an intentional abandonment of green space cultivation and promoting wilderness. In this study, we developed urban spontaneous vegetation (USV) identification algorithm based on NDVI from Sentinel-2 data in Warsaw's green spaces, Poland. We verified the study in an on-site survey where we collected 2863 field reference plots for USV and cultivated vegetation identification. We achieved 74 % accuracy for USV and 70 % for cultivated vegetation identification. The study assessed the spatial resources and extent of USV in the scale of the city and within various types of urban greenery. We identified the vegetation development persistence over 3 years and assessed the spontaneity levels of urban greenery. Classification of Warsaw's vegetation revealed that 54 % of Warsaw's greenery is cultivated while the remaining part is characterized by various levels of spontaneity. Only in 34.7 % of USV, we found no interruption of vegetation development due to cultivation for at least 3 years. USV was common in both cultivated parks where it accounted for 46.6 % of vegetation, as well as in the vacant lots, where it occurred in 55.3 % of the area. The proposed USV detection methodology can be an efficient tool for restoration effectiveness assessment and can support cultivation abandonment as NbS-an intended action promoting wilderness.
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Climate change and urbanization have resulted in several societal challenges for urban areas. Nature-based solutions (NBS) have been positioned as solutions for enhancing urban resilience in the face of these challenges. However, the body of conceptual and practical knowledge regarding NBS remains fragmented. This study addresses this gap by means of a systematic review of the literature, to define NBS as a theoretical concept; its broader significance with respect to societal challenges; the key stakeholders in NBS planning, implementation and management; and major barriers to and enablers of NBS uptake. The results of this review reveal that, despite a lack of consensus about the definition of NBS, there is a shared understanding that the NBS concept encompasses human and ecological benefits beyond the core objective of ecosystem conservation, restoration or enhancement. Significant barriers to and enablers of NBS are discussed, along with a proposed strategic planning framework for successful uptake of NBS.
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The features of the urban built environment influence the daily activities and health behaviors of people living in cities. Thus, it is possible to design cities in ways that can reduce poor health and support the well-being of urban residents. Urban design is the framework that gives form and shape to the components of the urban physical environment, including streets, residences, retail outlets, and industrial facilities. In giving form to the urban physical environment an urban design perspective creates an opportunity to shape cities and, in so doing, to shape how cities influence the health of their populations. This chapter introduces an urban design perspective and offer examples of how an urban design lens can help us understand urban health to the end of improving the health of urban populations.
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Urban growth in and around European cities affects multiple aspects of the environment including green spaces. On the one hand, many cities struggle with environmental problems, overcrowding and overuse resulting from high population densities. On the other hand, high densities result in better access to public green spaces, effective public transport, or less demand for resources. Consequently, finding a balance between density and high liveability in a green and sustainable urban environment is a major challenge for urban planning. Although many studies report and discuss the provision of green spaces in European cities, they fail to relate green space provision to the potential demand by urban dwellers, and to the extent differences can be detected between types of green. Against this background, this paper develops a systematic understanding of green space supply and its relation to the residential density of cities. In so doing, it detects turning points of green space supply in 905 European cities. The results show that green space supply is sensitive to the type of green space, population size and location of cities. Particularly the relation between residential density and the supply with urban green spaces covering parks, public gardens or cemeteries, indicate turning points: at certain residential densities the urban green space supply is decreasing. At a certain residential density, the urban green space supply is highest and cities have a high potential to optimize the balance between sustainability and liveability. However, there is no single optimal residential density. Rather, turning points are different between cities of different density and location in Europe and between different types of neighborhoods within cities. Therefore, different optimum values need to be defined sensitive to these characteristics. For most of the European cities, a decrease of population or built-area cannot be expected in the future. In this situation, the approach to identifying the turning points for green space supply as presented in this paper can be used as a comparative method. This informs green space policies for defining acceptable densities of urban development and corresponding standards for the provision of urban green space.
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The circumstances under which different ecosystem service benefits can be realised differ. Benefits tend to be co-produced and enabled by multiple interacting social, ecological, and technological factors, which is particularly evident in cities. As many cities are undergoing rapid change, these factors need to be better understood and accounted for, especially for those most in need of benefits. We propose a framework of three systemic filters that affect the flow of ecosystem service benefits: (1) the interactions between green, blue and built infrastructures, (2) the regulatory power and governance of institutions, and (3) people’s individual and shared perceptions and values. We argue that more fully connecting green and blue infrastructure to its urban systems context and highlighting dynamic interactions among the three filters is key to understanding how and why ecosystem services have variable distribution, continuing inequities in who benefits and the long-term resilience of the flows of benefits.
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Changes in urban residential density represent an important issue in terms of land consumption, the conservation of ecosystems, air quality and related human health problems, as well as the consequential challenges for urban and regional planning. It is the decline of residential densities, in particular, that has often been used as the very definition of sprawl, describing a phenomenon that has been extensively studied in the United States and in Western Europe. Whilst these studies provide valuable insights into urbanization processes, only a handful of them have reflected the uneven dynamics of simultaneous urban growth and shrinkage, using residential density changes as a key indicator to uncover the underlying dynamics. This paper introduces a contrasting analysis of recent developments in both de- and re-concentration, defined as decreasing or increasing residential densities, respectively. Using a large sample of European cities, it detects differences in density changes between successional population growth/decline. The paper shows that dedensification, found in some large cities globally, is not a universal phenomenon in growing urban areas; neither the increasing disproportion between a declining demand for and an increasing supply of residential areas nor actual concentration processes in cities were found. Thus, the paper provides a new, very detailed perspective on (de)densification in both shrinking and growing cities and how they specifically contribute to current land take in Europe.
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Over the 20th century, urbanization has substantially shaped the surface of Earth. With population rapidly shifting from rural locations towards the cities, urban areas have dramatically expanded on a global scale and represent crystallization points of social, cultural and economic assets and activities. This trend is estimated to persist for the next decades, and particularly the developing countries are expected to face rapid urban growth. The management of this growth will require good governance strategies and planning. By threatening the livelihoods, assets and health as foundations of human activities, another major global change contributor, climate change, became an equally important concern of stakeholders. Based on the climate trends observed over the 20th century, and a spatially explicit model of urbanization, this paper investigates the impacts of climate change in relation to different stages of development of urban areas, thus evolving a more integrated perspective on both processes. As a result, an integrative measure of climate change trends and impacts is proposed and estimated for urban areas worldwide. We show that those areas facing major urban growth are to a large extent also hotspots of climate change. Since most of these hotspots are located in the Global South, we emphasize the need for stakeholders to co-manage both drivers of global change. The presented integrative perspective is seen as a starting point to foster such co-management, and furthermore as a means to facilitate communication and knowledge exchange on climate change impacts.
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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.
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.
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.
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.