Exploring the potential of Green Infrastructure to enhance urban resilience as part of the 2040 Development Plan La Paz, Bolivia
Abstract: Cities continue to grow, and the rapid population growth, and overcrowding are increasing the pressure on local governments to provide basic services (e.g., housing, clean water, sanitation, basic health services, and education) and green space planning. Climate change and the human impact on the environment are putting even more pressure on urban areas and their corresponding government. Green infrastructure is a nature-based solution that uses vegetation to address both the challenge of urban sprawl and threats caused by climate change. Thus, this thesis explores the potential of how the city of La Paz can integrate green infrastructure solutions to respond to the four priority areas (flooding, water scarcity, landslide, and urban heatwaves) of the city-region’s strategic planning outlook, Plan 2040. The Plan 2040 is the first strategic municipal developing plan for land use planning in Bolivia. To carry out this investigation the author undertook several interviews, to find if there are any implications on gender during green infrastructure implementation. The thesis is based on a case study qualitative approach and the research method draws on literature review, desk study and eight interviews. It was concluded that green infrastructure with reforestation and afforestation responds positively to the four priority areas. Additionally, green infrastructure has different configurations to develop a resilient community at several scales from school grounds or a row of trees to open park space or planting rain gardens. Moreover, poorly designed green landscaping can increase the fear of crime. Thus, a greater understanding is needed about which types of green infrastructure measures are effective in increasing urban resilience in La Paz, and how these measures can be better designed, implemented, and maintained without causing the perception of fear of harassment or crime. Finally, it was concluded that Plan 2040 will be strengthened if it was to consider and incorporate the following: 1) non-invasive plant species; 2) financing for implementation; 3) a study that determines the sustainable development areas for urban greening; 4) its maintenance, and care measures; 5) coordination between the functional and operational unit of the municipality (environmentalists, urban planners, and gender specialists); 6) and how green infrastructure planning, design and implementation could be more gender sensitive.
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