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Planning Practices of Greening: Challenges for Public Urban Green Space
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Urban and Regional Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0177-481X
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.
Series
TRITA-SOM, ISSN 1653-6126 ; 09
Keyword [en]
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
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-187055ISBN: 978-91-7729-012-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-187055DiVA: diva2:928827
Public defence
2016-06-14, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 09:30 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20160518

Available from: 2016-05-18 Created: 2016-05-16 Last updated: 2016-07-08Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Planning the Green Walkable City: Conceptualizing Values and Conflicts for Urban Green Space Strategies in Stockholm
Open this publication in new window or tab >>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
Keyword
urban green space, urban planning policy, ecosystem services, parks, Stockholm
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-175512 (URN)10.3390/su70811306 (DOI)000361600500049 ()2-s2.0-84940542442 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20151021

Available from: 2015-10-21 Created: 2015-10-16 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
2. Becoming biophilic: Challenges and opportunities for biophilic urbanism in urban planning policy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Becoming biophilic: Challenges and opportunities for biophilic urbanism in urban planning policy
2016 (English)In: Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, ISSN 2046-6099, E-ISSN 2046-6102, Vol. 5, no 1, 15-24 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss challenges and opportunities for the implementation of biophilic urbanism in urban green planning policy through a case study of the Green living Spaces plan in Birmingham, UK. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on document analysis and semi-structured interviews as a strategy of qualitative inquiry to identify the key tenets of biophilic urbanism and its implementation in Birmingham’s urban green space planning. Findings – Biophilic urbanism has its strength as an approach to create common visions and understandings of the many benefits of nature in cities, thus strengthening the position of urban green space planning. In Birmingham the potential for integrated policies connected to urban green space are shown and the concept can also be understood as a pragmatic tool to strengthen the position of urban green space policies locally as well as positioning Birmingham globally as a leading green city. At the same time challenges are connected to legal status, path dependency and leadership. Originality/value – Biophilic urbanism has gotten increased attention in academia and practice and this paper contributes with a novel case study discussing how the concept has been used and understood in the Birmingham context to discuss opportunities and challenges for actual implementation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2016
National Category
Political Science Landscape Architecture
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-185770 (URN)10.1108/SASBE-10-2015-0036 (DOI)000386650000004 ()2-s2.0-84963781666 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20160502

Available from: 2016-04-27 Created: 2016-04-27 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved
3. Taking the High Line: elevated parks, transforming neighbourhoods, and the ever-changing relationship between the urban and nature
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Taking the High Line: elevated parks, transforming neighbourhoods, and the ever-changing relationship between the urban and nature
2015 (English)In: Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, ISSN 1754-9175, E-ISSN 1754-9183Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The popularity and impact of the High Line in New York mirrors the complex reality of contemporary provision of public space. The development of the project, its relationship to its surroundings and the evolving trend of elevated parks are analyzed in relation to the role of urban green space and impacts of Landscape Urbanism. The High Line shows the way to a new role for urban green space by utilizing abandoned infrastructure. In analysing the narrative of the High Line, this article stresses the importance of understanding localities and connectivity. Based on observations as well as a review of the literature and media, the article concludes that great landscaping does not create great places without careful consideration of the surrounding community and residents.

Keyword
elevated parks, environmental gentrification, High Line, Landscape Urbanism, urban parks
National Category
Architecture
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-175627 (URN)10.1080/17549175.2015.1063532 (DOI)
Note

QC 20151027

Available from: 2015-10-27 Created: 2015-10-19 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
4. Revisiting the San Francisco Parklets: Problematizing Publicness, Parks, and Transferability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Revisiting the San Francisco Parklets: Problematizing Publicness, Parks, and Transferability
2015 (English)In: Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, ISSN 1618-8667, E-ISSN 1610-8167, ISSN ISSN 1618-8667, Vol. 15, 165-173 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

One day in 2005, a bench, some grass, and a tree suddenly appeared on a parking spot in central SanFrancisco. The parking meter was paid for two hours, and after that the installation disappeared. Thisaction by the art-design-activist organization Rebar has led to the annual global event Park(ing) Day andan official planning program in San Francisco, From Pavements to Parks, inspiring cities around the worldto introduce their own parklet projects.Many cities are facing challenges such as economic deficits and a lack of open public spaces, and growingconcerns exist regarding the need for urban greenery. This paper discusses how parklets are challengingthe role of public spaces and urban nature, drawing on discussions and conceptualizations of publicness,observational data, literature review, and document analysis to explore the influence of parklets as anurban design strategy at a local and global level.The symbolic change from parking space to public park space and the tactical urbanism inspiration ofthe concept constitute both parts of the symbolic value of parklets. At the same time, the line betweencommunity activism and urban strategy has been blurred. The city reviews, permits, and inspects theprojects; and the sponsor is responsible for the design, financing, maintenance, and liability. The paperconcludes that, even though parklets might provide a new public space and bring greenery to streetscapes,publicness, roles and responsibility, as well as the functionality of nature in these projects, remain crucialquestions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015
National Category
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-185771 (URN)10.1016/j.ufug.2015.12.010 (DOI)000384913000021 ()2-s2.0-84957105848 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20160502

Available from: 2016-04-27 Created: 2016-04-27 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved

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