Green space in compact cities: The benefits and values of urban ecosystem services in planning

Märit Jansson


This paper presents a literature review on urban green space benefits and values and discusses green space qualities that are important in providing ecosystem services for sustainability of compact cities. Green spaces and elements provide many functions, services and benefits which are needed for the sustainable development of urban areas, as shown in numerous research studies. However, there is often a gap between the research findings on urban ecosystem services and urban planning processes, with green spaces risking being undervalued in compact cities. Two possible reasons for this gap are discussed in this paper: lack of compiled knowledge of the number and extent of ecosystem services provided by urban green space and the need for descriptions of valuable green space qualities including properties and potentials. Previous studies on urban green spaces and their contribution to economic, health, quality of life and ecological benefits in compact cities are re­viewed and described. Analysis of the literature indicates that sustainable compact cities can be expected to need green spaces which are close to people, coherent and of sufficient size, varied and well-maintained and where people can engage in development. Such aspects can be increasingly considered in planning practice.

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