Development of a GIS methodology to evaluate informal urban green areas for inclusion in a community governance program
Abstract: Informal green spaces are “small green areas” which are some square meter plots along streets or in junctions, in front of public or private buildings. Informal urban green space become or remain in neglected condition due to the lack of capacity of the municipality to maintain them. Further, there is a lack of responsibility, competency and motivation of the residents to voluntarily take care of them (Rupprecht et al., 2015, Hardman et al., 2018), as is the case of the 12th district of Budapest in Hungary which is the pilot area of this research. Municipalities can decide to cooperate with the residents to tackle this problem, but there is no information about the informal green spaces (IGS). Following an extensive search through the literature, no GIS method appears to address the analysis of informal green areas in relation to their suitability for the inclusion into a community governance program as the Stewardship Program of the 12th district. In the frame of the program, the Municipality and residents cooperate on the maintenance of IGS. The current research intends to fill this knowledge gap by developing a methodology using GIS to identify and categorize informal urban green spaces (IGS) according to their suitability for inclusion in community management services. As the first step, interviews and questionnaires were conducted with the leaders and the stewards (residents) of the Stewardship Program to identify IGS attributes based on which IGS can be evaluated: Ownership (areas owned by the municipality); No-man lands/green islands; Not protected area; Safeness, air and noise pollution; Original vegetation cover; Manageable size; Closeness to home; Closeness to apartment buildings; Slope steepness; Water sources available for irrigation; Not to be protected area but close to them; Along busy pedestrian area; Sunniness. In order to measure the identified attributes, spatial indicators were established by multi-criteria analyses method applying spatial analyses tool such as distance and network analysis tool. The final output of the analysis was a suitability map about the 12th district of Budapest which shows those areas which have high potential and those areas which have low potential to include stewardship areas. Similar maps can be created for any other districts or cities following the methodology developed in the frame of this research.
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