Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 211-226

Use of ecological information in urban planning: Experiences from the Helsinki metropolitan area, Finland

  • V. Yli-PelkonenAffiliated withDepartment of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki Email author 
  • , J. NiemeläAffiliated withDepartment of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki

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This paper studies the use of ecological research information in urban planning focusing on Finland. Research questions addressed the importance and challenges of incorporating ecological information into the planning process, and ways to promote the use of ecological information. Fifteen key professionals from three representative development approval processes in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area were interviewed. The interviewed planners and ecologists considered ecological information important for identifying and preserving valuable urban nature and biodiversity, diminishing negative environmental impacts of construction and for enabling nature-related experiences and services for urban residents. The identified challenges for the use of the information included insufficiency, fragmented nature and lack of adequacy of information, as well as problems with the interpretation and presentation of information. In order to provide more comprehensive ecological information from urbanizing areas in Finland; there should be more coordinated efforts to produce research information that planners really need, ecologists should be more active in the process in providing ecological insights for plans, a proper and simple biodiversity valuation method should be developed, more research on the function on ecological corridors should be conducted, and biodiversity monitoring of implemented planning projects should be developed.


Ecological information Finland Land use Urban planning