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Urban green infrastructure in Europe: Is greenspace planning and policy compliant?

Urban green infrastructure (UGI) planning, based on certain principles, has emerged as a way to conceptualiseconnected greenspace in urbanised environments. This is achieved through the application of processes andapproaches linked to policy themes to which the concept can significantly contribute. Taken together the processes,approaches and policy themes constitute the principles of UGI, which when adopted can promote,maintain and enhance quality of life in resource-efficient, compact and climate-resilient cities. In this study weexplore the extent to which strategic greenspace planning in Europe is UGI compliant, as we hypothesised thatthe above principles are presently under-represented in planning documents and policies. This was accomplishedby conducting a comparative analysis of the adoption of UGI principles in current practices of greenspaceplanning across European city-regions based on a systematic review of previous data and reports. The studyfound that many UGI principles and related concepts are present to some degree in strategic greenspace planningin Europe. However, gaps exist with regard to their scope and level of consideration. Presently, conservationemerges as the predominant task in strategic urban greenspace planning. However, enhancing network connectivityis key to the development of UGI, hence a greater focus on the restoration and creation of greenspace isrequired in the future. Based on our analysis it can be concluded that the advancement towards UGI planning iswell established and progressing, although some areas are markedly under-represented. Strategic greenspaceplanning in Europe, with a few exceptions, requires further development to be effectively considered as UGIcompliant.

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