Green infrastructure: concepts, perceptions and its use in spatial planning

  • Mell I
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Green infrastructure offers a contemporary approach to the conceptualisation and management of landscape resources. It has developed rapidly in the UK, Europe and North America as a result of the opportunities it has provided in meeting the ecological, economic and social challenges of spatial planning. The attention given to growth in green infrastructure has been supported by the development of a number of overarching principles – principles that provide green infrastructure research with a multi- layered understanding of the changing nature of landscape resources. This thesis outlines the complex nature of green infrastructure development, its meanings, its perception and use as an approach to landscape planning. Three key themes are identified. Firstly, by exploring variations in the meanings of green infrastructure this thesis presents an examination of its conceptual development to date. The second explores the role of perceptions in the value and use of green infrastructure resources. It examines the role of ecological, psychological and social constructions of green infrastructure and assesses how these affect personal and communal landscape interpretations. The final theme discusses current green infrastructure use by practitioners. The varied nuances of green infrastructure are outlined and an assessment is given of how the principles of green infrastructure have been translated into appropriate landscape management. Each of these themes explores the relationships between green infrastructure principles, its perceptions (by users), and its use in practice (spatial planning). The themes developed in this thesis identify a number of conceptual and implementation principles for green infrastructure. The roles of integrated planning policy, strategic thinking, multi-functionality, connectivity, and access are discussed in order to highlight the different forms that green infrastructure research has taken. Based on these discussions, this thesis proposes that a green infrastructure approach to planning can be used to meet the complex challenges of current landscape planning. With continued development of green infrastructure, some of the most pressing issues in planning, such as green space planning or sustainable urban development, can be discussed. These issues are discussed throughout the thesis and clear links are made between this exploratory green infrastructure research and planning practice.

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  • Ian C. Mell

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