New five-step planning tool makes the most of urban green spaces

Posted by Sara King BSc (Hons) AIEEM on 22/03/2013

A new five-step process has now been developed that can inform effective planning to protect and enhance the value of urban green spaces. Small areas of semi-natural vegetation, farmlands and abandoned farmlands provide important ecosystem services in urban environments. These areas can provide important green infrastructure, particularly within urban environments, where these parcels of open space can provide social and health benefits, as well as benefits to wildlife.

This study proposes a five-step process to characterise these areas of urban open space and identify possible new land uses to maximise their benefits. It highlights the importance of retaining a network of these green areas, so that their cumulative benefits can be enhanced. Development schemes can also increase the amount of green infrastructure within urban environments. We know that most urban developments do not have the luxury of providing large areas of open spaces, although even small areas of planting within a scheme can provide an ecological benefit and add to biodiversity within a mosaic of well designed small parcels.