Public urban green space: Exploring priorities and challenges for managing and valuing green space, using Stockholm as a case study

University essay from KTH/Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik

Abstract: Public urban green space has never been more important: Its past contributions and potential to promote future public health, climate mitigation, and biodiversity are invaluable to cities experiencing population growth and urban densification. This research explores complexities of multiple demands on public urban green space in cities, using Stockholm as a case study. Semi-structured interviews with local professionals in the environmental planning field, supported by an analysis of key documents, assist in identifying key priorities and challenges, and highlighting considerations for the use of tools which value these spaces and their associated ecosystem services. Key priorities for the management of public urban green spaces are found to be: Adapting to effects of climate change, protecting biodiversity, and provision of cultural ecosystem services. Key challenges facing the management of public urban green spaces were highlighted as: Urban densification, green-washing, unclear definitions of concepts such as ‘green space’, and expectations of spaces being multifunctional. There are discussions that valuation tools do not have the ability to accurately measure and assess cultural ecosystem services, that collaborative tools can be more effective, and that there are both benefits and drawbacks concerning monetary valuations. Findings have implications for Stockholm’s management of public urban green space, and can be used to inform environmental planning policies. Recommendations for future research include investigating tools available for the assessment, mapping, and valuation of the qualities of green spaces, as well as identifying assessment tools Stockholm City Council have previous experience with. 

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