Urban Green Infrastructure Planning - evidence-based interdisciplinary research across Europe

Werner Rolf, Technical University of Munich, Chair for Strategic Landscape Planning and Management, werner.rolf@tum.de

Stephan Pauleit, Technical University of Munich, Chair for Strategic Landscape Planning and Management, pauleit@wzw.tum.de

Maria Beatrice Andreucci, Sapienza Università di Roma/Faculty of Architecture, mbeatrice.andreucci@uniroma1.it

Anna Hersperger, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Head of Landscape Ecology Group, anna.hersperger@wsl.ch 


Urban Green Infrastructure (UGI) has evolved as a research topic across Europe recently. The understanding of the European Commission’s Green Infrastructure, adopted in 2013, reflects a holistic approach. It extends the focus of species and habitat conservation of the Natura2000 approach, taking into account a variety of demands of our society, contributing to societal health and human well-being, including a green economy. The integration of these different aspects require innovative interdisciplinary planning, design and governance approaches which are at the focus of this symposium. 


Recently, Green Infrastructure (GI) has evolved as a spatial planning strategy for urban and peri-urban landscape development in Europe, promoted by EU policies.

GI development belongs to one of the six main targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, i.e. to maintain, enhance, and restore ecosystems and their services (European Commission, 2011). In order to implement the EU Biodiversity Strategy until 2020 the European Commission adopted the GI Strategy, defining GI as “a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services.” (European Commission, 2013).

This approach reflects that the concept of GI stands for a holistic perspective on natural areas and other open spaces in urban and non-urban surroundings and values these areas as a crucial infrastructure for human life.

Urban Green Infrastructure (UGI) can provide multiple benefits for well-being and quality of life of the urbanites and contribute to mitigating or even avoiding hazardous situations, e.g. caused by climate change. Consequently, UGI is increasingly recognised as an essential infrastructure that needs to be planned, designed, implemented and managed in concert with other hard and soft infrastructures.

UGI can make substantial contributions to successfully meet important policy objectives towards sustainable urban development, such as enhancing social cohesion, supporting the urban economy and adapting cities to a changing climate.

To enhance the multiple benefits from urban green spaces, however, a carefully conceived, evidence-based, integrated approach is required. With this respect, this symposium will offer an overview of recent and on-going international, multi-disciplinary research activities, such as Green Surge and GreenInUrbs, as well as relevant national initiatives.

Theories, concepts, case studies, methods and tools will be discussed by researchers and practitioners alike, aiming at providing a wider audience with relevant information and guidelines for successful UGI planning and implementation. 

What can participants expect to learn?

Participants will learn about current interdisciplinary research activities for planning and implementation of Urban Green Infrastructure across Europe as well as relevant national initiatives. More precisely, participants will gain knowledge of concepts, methods, and tools through presentation of key findings from recent Urban Green Infrastructure implementation.


The outcomes of the symposium are planned to be disseminated in a special issue of an international peer-reviewed journal and/or in a joint paper. Furthermore key insights of the Symposia can be tweeted in real time via the Landscape Online conference tweet: https://twitter.com/issn18651542/timelines/704625425213947905