Ecosystem Services Provided by Urban Green Infrastructure

Authored by: Thomas Elmqvist , Erik Gómez-Baggethun , Johannes Langemeyer

Routledge Handbook of Ecosystem Services

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138025080
eBook ISBN: 9781315775302
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315775302-39

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Abstract

In a rapidly urbanizing world, cities have become main centres of demand for ecosystem services, and sources of environmental impacts. The pressure on ecosystems from cities will further accelerate in the future, with approximately 60% of the urban land present in 2030 forecast to be built in the period 2000–2030 (see Elmqvist et al. 2013). Urbanization therefore presents fundamental challenges for sustainbility, but it also presents unprecedented opportunities for novel forms of designing and managing urban ecosystems so as to secure their capacity to sustain ecosystem services and their resilience to cope with change. For example, as IPCC predicts higher frequency and intensity of climate extremes, urban ecosystems, i.e. “green and blue infrastructure”, are often viewed to have a crucial role in building adaptive capacity to cope with climate and other global change (Depietri et al. 2012, Farrugia et al. 2013). Strategies based on investments in urban green infrastructure and ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change are gaining considerable interest across the globe, particularly since such investments simultaneously generate multiple ecosystem services, enhancing human well-being (e.g. Elmqvist et al. 2013). Indeed, as Box 36.1 shows, there has been considerable convergence in the literature dealing with ecosystem services and green infrastructure, with the latter now seen as a necessary structural element for the former in urban areas.

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