Identifying Cultural Ecosystem Services of Urban Green Infrastructure Report about a pilot project undertaken in Lower Austria

Rottenbacher, Christine and Cassidy, Tim (2014) Identifying Cultural Ecosystem Services of Urban Green Infrastructure Report about a pilot project undertaken in Lower Austria. REAL CORP 2014 – PLAN IT SMART! Clever Solutions for Smart Cities. Proceedings of 19th International Conference on Urban Planning, Regional Development and Information Society. pp. 269-278.

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Access to adequate environmental amenities is fundamental for the sustainability and quality of human life, requiring a better understanding of ecological patterns and processes in the places most people call home. As more people will live in cities than in rural environments, this means that the daily interaction with nature for most people will come from their everyday urban places, including urban green infrastructure. The Lower Austrian "Wohnbauforschung" has funded our pilot project in Laa an der Thaya to investigate ecosystem services of urban green infrastructure. This article focuses on our identification of cultural ecosystem services. In itself, green infrastructure represents a compendium of ideals, seeking to improve human well-being and living conditions. Included in those ideals are the concepts of ecosystem services, restoration of natural habitats, improving biodiversity, human well-being and adaptation to climate change. One of the most important challenges of the 21st century is to sustain the functions of ecosystems and to support ecosystem services for those issues. Urban green infrastructure is intrinsically a heterogeneous landscape of micro-infrastructure networks set in a culturally-determined ecosystem. Sustaining and co-ordinating the multiple benefits from an urban network of neighbourhood green infrastructure will require an integrated landscape framework, a coherent approach to governance and collaborative adaptive management. Urban green infrastructure is considered more and more as a strong sustainable tool in adressing those challenges . A paradigm shift at multi-scalar levels requires an urban green infrastructure strategy that integrates some of the fundamental concerns of urban citizens in their everyday lives. These include quiet places for contemplation and restoration of their health and well-being, environmental security, and the cultivation and culture of food. In these everyday gestures can the relationship between people and nature be restored. The value of ecosystem services in the form of urban green infrastructure has become increasingly recognised in the policy agenda (Carpenter et al., 2009), supported by a growing number of studies on their benefits and costs. But the gap to implementation remains to be bridged over. As the ecosystem services of green infrastructure are still not well recognised in Austrian municipal councils, we initiated a place-based approach to the perception of green infrastructure and climate change in Laa an der Thaya. This pilot project aims on the one hand to enhance the understanding of ecosystem service benefits of green infrastructure and on the other to strengthen the potential for the implementation of green. Urban green infrastructure included all public spaces, urban forests and parks. We considered green infrastructure as a network integrating a broad range of quality green places, designed and managed to enhance the character of place, while providing multiple benefits of ecosystem services. Our investigations at selected places represent a place-based scale where it is possible for humans to perceive and understand effects of climate change, as well as the benefits of urban green infrastructure. Within this approach the perceived cultural ecosystem services of the stakeholders were incorporated with a survey of existing ecosystem services (CO2 storage, rainwater management and urban heat island effects) to estimate the benefits from green infrastructure. This would lead to the intitial development of modules to implement and enhance the urban green infrastructure in Laa. To overcome the barriers to implement green infrastructure an integrated approach has been developed together with a core stakeholder group. The "cultural services" were investigated in a public participation process, the Moved Planning Process or "MPP" (Rottenbacher 2009), in conjunction with a SWOT analysis to strengthen reflection and appreciation of the natural benefits of urban green infrastructure systems. In a dialogue about cultural ecosystem services and the multiple benefits of green infrastructure we defined together "special " areas, i.e. areas that are of a particular value, eg. for recreation, as meeting places, but also available places wherein green infrastructure can be implemented.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: cultural services, ecosystem services, public participation, urban green infrastructure, valuation
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2016 08:46
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2016 08:46

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