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Planning the Green Walkable City: Conceptualizing Values and Conflicts for Urban Green Space Strategies in Stockholm
2015 (English)In: Sustainability, ISSN 2071-1050, E-ISSN 2071-1050, Vol. 7, no 8, 11306-11320 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Urban green spaces are essential elements of cities, contributing to the quality of life in numerous ways. However, densification strategies create a complex relationship between urban development and the quality, as well as the quantity, of urban green space. This paper examines the Green Walkable City Programme in Stockholm, a document developed to supplement the comprehensive plan as a strategic backbone for green urban planning. Based on interviews and content analysis, this paper identifies and discusses concerns raised in the development of the planning programme, and addresses the importance of urban green space for citizens' well-being. The new comprehensive plan has introduced a shift in the attitude towards the urban green space in Stockholm. The need for urban growth is used to justify development of green fields, and a focus on the quality, rather than the quantity, of urban green space is promoted. Despite this progress, the public requests definitions for this quality approach and fears that nature within the city will be parkified. Therefore, this paper offers a critical reflection on the role of the Green Walkable City Programme, its situation within the context of Swedish green urban planning, and various areas of concern that have been highlighted.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Basel: MDPI AG , 2015. Vol. 7, no 8, 11306-11320 p.
Keyword [en]
urban green space, urban planning policy, ecosystem services, parks, Stockholm
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-175512DOI: 10.3390/su70811306ISI: 000361600500049ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84940542442OAI: diva2:862263

QC 20151021

Available from: 2015-10-21 Created: 2015-10-16 Last updated: 2016-05-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Planning Practices of Greening: Challenges for Public Urban Green Space
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Planning Practices of Greening: Challenges for Public Urban Green Space
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Public urban green spaces are crucial parts of cities due to the many connections existing between urban greenery and well-being. Additionally, public urban green space represents a wide range of spatial concepts, such as parks, urban forests, commons, in-between-spaces, and gardens. This study explores challenges for contemporary public urban green space in an increasingly urban world, with high demands on urban growth, and simultaneously the need for more sustainable societies and cities. The aim is to problematize the complex reality for contemporary public urban green space from an urban planning perspective in times of urban densification strategies, global competitiveness between cities and trends of ‘re-naturing’.


The scope of this thesis is based on four high profile case studies. The Green Walkable City in Stockholm and The Green Living Spaces in Birmingham constitute planning strategies with a holistic approach to urban green space, including a strong focus on well-being. The High Line in New York and Parklets in San Francisco represent urban green space concepts, influential both at the local level and in the larger urban planning debate. The results point to a need to acknowledge the complexity inherent to urban green space provision, design, and management. This study contributes with insights of direct connections between narratives of nature, materialized urban greenery projects and conceptualizations of functionality of nature in urban planning projects. From the post-industrial, pristine flirting, crafted wilderness of the High Line; a symbolic but cosmetic scrambling with planters and narratives of parks of parklets; dualistic argumentations of natural values connected to quality over quantity of nature in a densifying and growing Stockholm; to pragmatic yet emotional and ambitious conceptualizations of human nature in biohilic urbanism and green space planning in Birmingham. Gentrification, publicness and production of public space and densification strategies are central themes in urban studies – and public urban green space can play an active role in these processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2016
TRITA-SOM, ISSN 1653-6126 ; 09
public urban green space; public space; ecological gentrification; green city branding; urban densification; green cities; biophilic cities
National Category
Civil Engineering
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-187055 (URN)978-91-7729-012-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-06-14, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 09:30 (English)

QC 20160518

Available from: 2016-05-18 Created: 2016-05-16 Last updated: 2016-07-08Bibliographically approved

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