Spatiotemporal changes in Gothenburg municipality's green space, 1986 to 2019

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för geovetenskaper

Abstract: As the world’s population is becoming increasingly more urban the infrastructure expands toaccommodate the inhabitants’ needs. In a dense urban environment green space has animportant function since it provides vital ecosystem services, contributes to recreational andcultural values and is essential for biodiversity. Gothenburg municipality, which harbours thesecond largest city in Sweden, has seen an increase from about 430 000 to 580 000 inhabitantsbetween the years 1986 and 2019 and a future prognosis shows a population increase to 700 000by the year 2035. The municipality is currently working on a new comprehensive plan which willdictate how the city will expand in the future. This study uses Normalized Difference VegetationIndex (NDVI) from Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 8 OLI satellite data across eight dates between 1986and 2019 to analyze historical greenness change. Together with a qualitative content analysis ofthe consultation material, which is the basis for the work with the new comprehensive plan, afuture outlook is constructed. NDVI is highly correlated to green biomass and increase or decreaseof NDVI is translated to gain or loss of amount of greenness. Gothenburg municipality has lost aconsiderable amount of greenness(2.8%) between the years 1986 and 2019, while there has beena 0.83% gain in green area. The areas with the largest percentage of greenness loss are largeindustry, harbor and logistics followed by urban middle area, urban central area and urban outerarea. The areas have lost 504.7, 430.7, 36.3 and 194.9 ha respectively during the time periodwhich translates to 10.8%, 3.7%, 2.6% and 1.8% of the areas total land area. There has been adeclining cumulative net change of greenness for all areas except for nature and recreationalareas which has gained in greenness with 0.1%. A visual analysis shows that areas with lostgreenness in the urban middle and outer area were mostly due to commerce, industry, andhousing while in the urban inner area the loss was focused to private and public institutions. Theexpansion of communications, roads and public transport was a common cause for greennessloss in all areas. The urban middle and outer area are those where most future development willbe focused and green areas will most likely decrease due to expansion, which should beprominent around already densely built-up parts in these areas. The consultation material alsoshows that future development will focus on public transportation, cycling lanes, sidewalks androads to increase accessibility. Since the development of these kind of infrastructures have beenshown to affect surrounding green space a similar trend can be expected in the future.

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