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Green Infrastructure in the Space of Flows: An Urban Metabolism Approach to Bridge Environmental Performance and User’s Wellbeing

  • Daniela PerrottiEmail author
  • Ornella Iuorio
Chapter
Part of the Cities and Nature book series (CITIES)

Abstract

Recent research demonstrates that urban metabolism studies hold ample scope for informing more sustainable urban planning and design. The assessment of the resource flows that are required to sustain the growth and maintenance of cities can allow gaining a clear picture of how cities operate to comply with environmental performance standards and to ensure that both human and ecosystem health are preserved. Green infrastructure (GI) plays a key role in enhancing both cities’ environmental performance and health. For example, GI interventions mitigate the Urban Heat Island effect (improved thermal comfort), reduce particulate matter concentration (healthier air quality), and sequestrate and store atmospheric carbon (climate change mitigation). Research on ecosystem services and the application of the concept in urban planning provides a growing evidence base that an understanding of provisioning and regulating services can facilitate more environmentally informed GI planning and design. The contribution of GI in enhancing human health and psychological wellbeing is also evidenced in recent studies valuing both material and immaterial benefits provided by urban ecosystems, including cultural ecosystem services. Therefore, the use of ecosystem service frameworks can help reveal and quantify the role of GI in fostering both urban environmental quality and the wellbeing of human populations. However, there remains little discussion of how health and wellbeing aspects can be integrated with environmental performance objectives. In this chapter, urban metabolism thinking is proposed as a way forward, providing analytical tools to inform environmentally-optimized strategies across the urban scales. Opportunities to foster integrated urban metabolism approaches that can inform more holistic GI planning are discussed. Finally, future research avenues to incorporate the multiple dimensions of human health and wellbeing into urban metabolism thinking are highlighted.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université Catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  2. 2.University of LeedsLeedsUK

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