5. Green infrastructures: fostering dialogue across scales and policies
Green infrastructure principally refers to a multifunctional network of healthy ecosystems and serves the interests of both people and nature. We strongly believe that in the light of the implementation of the EU green infrastructure strategy (European Commission 2013) this is a relevant topic to be discussed amongst the European Planning community at the AESOP conference in Lisbon 2017 in order to foster the development of approaches and tools towards its implementation.
It is widely acknowledged in academia and practice in Europe and beyond that green infrastructure should be designed and managed as a multifunctional resource capable of delivering a wide range of benefits to humans and ecosystems, such as flood control, climate mitigation, biodiversity conservation, production of renewable energy, enhancing identity, cultural values and resilience etc. (see e.g. the project Green Surge in the 7th Framework program). Building blocks of green infrastructure are natural and semi natural areas, features and green spaces ranging from large wilderness areas to green roofs in urban environments. Green infrastructure is thus connected to many policy domains such as agriculture, forestry, nature, water, transport, and disaster prevention. Spatial planning as a part of public policy can provide an overall framework and individual methods and tools required for a successful implementation and maintenance of a green infrastructure from local to EU-scales. Spatial planning seems best suited to ensure the necessary coordination across spatial scales and policy sectors, to facilitate the adaption of spatial concepts to real landscapes and to include the relevant actors.
Thus a session on green infrastructure provides a great opportunity to critically discuss current research and praxis on the planning and implementation of green infrastructure and explore ideas of how to progress on these issues. The session will particularly explore green infrastructure planning from rural to peri-urban and urban areas. Following, a preliminary list of potential questions and issues to be explored in a session:
- What is the status of green infrastructure planning and implementation in Europe? What are achievements and good practice? Where are the shortcomings?
- How can spatial concepts for green infrastructure be developed and operationalized in the context of spatial planning from European to local scale?
- How can relevant sectoral planning in e.g. regarding flood management, climate change and biodiversity and cultural heritage conservation be integrated into an overall green infrastructure strategy to maximize to provision of ecosystem services?
- Which governance regimes are suited to ensure that green infrastructure, once in place, can persist long-term?
- How can the maintenance of green infrastructure be financed benefitting from the integration of sectoral policies?
- How do people perceive and value green infrastructure and what do they expect from green infrastructure planning?