Ecology, Planning, and Management of Urban Forests

pp 84-96

Benefits of Urban Green Space for Improving Urban Climate

  • Volker HeidtAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of Mainz
  • , Marco NeefAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of Mainz

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Urban settlements transform the natural environment so greatly that people tend to see the city only as an employment site, and economic and cultural center. Thus a growing number of people prefer to reside in greener suburbs or rural areas. This results in increased automobile commuter traffic, accompanied by traffic jams, accidents, stress, and ever more damage to the environment. Concepts of sustainable development or the ecological city represent strategies for changing these negative trends. The purpose for doing so is principally the well-being of a city’s residents. Often this entails bringing more of the natural environment back into the city, because urban green space fulfills several critical functions in an urban context that benefit people’s quality of life. There is a broad consensus about the importance, and therefore the value, of urban green space in cities as currently constructed, in addition to its value in planning ecological cities.

Steadily growing traffic and urban heat not only damage the environment, but also incur social and economic costs. As we explain further, we can save costs even by making small changes to existing situations. Furthermore, we maintain and show that an integrated approach is needed for designing and maintaining urban green space. The main thesis of this chapter, therefore, is as follows: To provide sufficient quality of life in high-density cities, it is important to maintain and restore an urban green space system; moreover, urban green space and a comfortable urban climate also produce social and economic benefits.