The concept of "green infrastructure" emphasizes that green and open spaces are as important as the built or social infrastructure systems. Green infrastructure refers to a comprehensive and integrated approach to nature and landscape that includes ecological, socio-cultural, aesthetic and economic aspects.
As part of our research, we are exploring the question of how the concept of green infrastructure could improve landscape and open space planning in Germany and Europe.
A wealth of research, guidance documents, and best practice examples have recently emerged on "urban green infrastructure" (UGI). Nevertheless, municipalities are faced with the challenge of utilizing and implementing UGI in view of the complexity of spatial scales, planning phases, and fields of action. To support municipal planning practice, the “Masterplan Stadtnatur” (BMU 2019) envisions the provision of a "toolbox" with recommendations for action. The development of such a web-based toolbox is the goal of the project "Urban green infrastructure concretized – sample solutions and recommendations for action". The focus is on approaches and methods for mapping and evaluating existing UGI elements and ecosystem services. Furthermore, tools and measures for planning, implementation, and maintenance of UGI are provided. The tools cover a broad range of actions including qualification and connectivity, UGI in new constructions, and combined grey-green elements. In addition, advice is given on possible actor constellations, participation methods, and municipal steering and monitoring processes. The theoretical knowledge will be supplemented with the practical experience from four municipalities and regions. They will be involved to discuss the challenges of implementing urban green infrastructure and knowledge needs for the toolbox.
Based on the EU project GREEN SURGE, we launched a follow-up study with European partners to examine open space planning and governance in eleven European cities. The aim was to find out how open space planning has evolved recently in the face of increasing awareness of global warming, species extinction and social injustice, and how planners are responding to society's call for action.