PT-5 :: Promoting urban green infrastructure

Sub-topics: grass management; urban agriculture; green-roofs.
The “green infrastructure” in urban landscapes (such as green roof and walls, parks, tree plantations, urban farming areas, etc.,) is a recognized instrument for increasing resilience of cities, and can help in adapting to the main current and future challenges of development, climate change and biodiversity loss, ensuring food security, fresh water and well-being. Green infrastructure can provide several environmental, economic and social values and services to urban communities. The management of land resources for green infrastructure has to follow integrated and cross-sectoral concepts in order to answer the different demands of natural capital. Its multi-functionality involves the interest of a variety of stakeholders, such as private business (e.g. tourism sector), planning authorities, conservationists and public.
Thus, benefits, costs or opportunities for green infrastructure, as well as adaptation strategies to climate change should be assessed. Research about green infrastructure can contribute to the communication of its potential and its successful implementation in urban and regional plans. Research on ecosystem assessment and the trade-offs between ecosystem services would be essential, taking into account conflicts of interest between various land uses and green infrastructures. Research will require an interdisciplinary approach. Local authorities, companies and universities should be responsible for founding research in this topic.
Specific research questions (following the conceptual model of INSPIRATION):
• Integrate green-infrastructure in spatial planning, identifying and mapping green infrastructure elements and requirements/opportunities.
Why: To understand the current state of green infrastructure and to estimate its value under different scenarios.
Land management:
• Develop green infrastructures for climate change adaptation and well-being. Economic evaluation and environmental justice;
• Pilot implementation and monitoring of green infrastructures;
Why: To ensure its success, contributing to dissemination of its potential.
• Improve knowledge about potential socio-economic and ecological benefits (town’s resilience, carbon sequestration, or provision of ecosystem services e.g. food production, water regulation, recreation, thermal comfort, health).
• strengthening the participation of a wider range of stakeholders in decision-making processes with implications for green infrastructure;
Why: raising awareness and acceptance among decision makers in policy, and to target relevant stakeholders and the general public. To support future political and decision making process.