Green infrastructure in urban areas

Green infrastructure (GI) is made up of interconnected green and/or blue areas that are developed through a strategic planning approach that creates solutions to problems of land conservation, ecological and social effects of urban sprawl, and the rapid fragmentation of landscapes. GI can be a tool for organising urban areas to protect and support the integrity of ecological and cultural functions and for ensuring the sustainability of urban areas. Local authorities tend to have the main responsibility for implementing GI in Europe due to their remit of planning and investing in urban infrastructure. They exercise influence over the nature of infrastructure renewal and expansion, and they have the ability to promote greener and more sustainable urban centres.

Despite relevant good practice examples of mature spatial planning systems that incorporate a GI approach, there is still great uncertainty in planning practice on how, and at which scales and in which phases of the planning process, to make use of the GI approach. It can also be unclear how best to benefit from the approach’s integrative capacity for supporting sustainable development.

This ESPON policy brief promotes a GI approach in spatial planning that not only connects different elements of nature, but also crosses ecological and political boundaries and links sector policies. The policy brief further aims to support discussions surrounding the implementation of GI at intergovernmental level during the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union’s (EU’s) first semester of 2020.


Policy Brief Green Infrastructure in Urban Areas.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 1.59MB