Biodiversity, ecosystem services and environmental planning

Authored by: Kimmo Lapintie , Mina Di Marino

The Routledge Companion to Environmental Planning

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  July  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138894808
eBook ISBN: 9781315179780
Adobe ISBN:


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Nature versus urban development is one of the most common dichotomies creating conflicts in environmental planning. There is a history behind it, as urban nature has for long been conceptualised as the ‘background’, on top of which buildings and technical infrastructure (the ‘form’) are located. Urban nature has had its role, though, but mainly through the functional meaning of recreation or the ecological meaning or nature conservation. The more recent concepts of green (or green-blue) infrastructure and ecosystem services attack these traditional dichotomies from two directions: seeing the urban green as an elemental part of urban infrastructure suggests an equal value compared to the technical infrastructure. On the other hand, the ecosystem services that the green-blue infrastructure produces (such as storm water management, cleaning of the air, regulating micro-climate and – of course – providing opportunities for recreation and thus wellbeing of urban residents) can be seen as parallel to the more traditional services of the welfare state, such as schools or health care. However, there is still a clear gap between the relevant knowledge of the academics and the tacit understanding of planners, who have difficulties in incorporating the new conceptual framework into their daily practice.

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