It provides tools in the form of practical pointers that show how the contribution of green infrastructure can be enhanced for the benefit of all. This applies both now and for future generations. It is written in the knowledge that the term ‘green city’ has a range of meanings but deliberately focuses on the physical, living green, plants as well as green spaces.
The plant features are the elements that underpin the rest of the settlement and can deliver those essential ‘ecosystem services’ that are our life-support systems.
“Ecosystem Services” is a term to describe any beneficial function provided by green space that would otherwise require a technical response (flood defence, air quality, countering the urban heat island) or that offers a cultural or other benefit (e.g. biodiversity or aesthetic/heritage benefits).
Although in some sectors the term ESS meets with disapproval if it is considered to make the assumption that nature is here to serve humanity instead of having equality in the hierarchy of life, it does provide a uniform terminology, and is an important concept for securing investment in green space.
IUCN’s Global Water Programme decided to create this diagram to emphasize the important relationship between ecosystem services and the components of people’s wellbeing. This infographic highlights the layers of linkages, demonstrating the extent to which livelihoods are dependent on the sustainability and health of ecosystems, and the variety of services they provide for free” James Dalton, IUCN Director Global Water Programme.
These guidelines do not seek to provide all the answers. This site offers case studies, references, and guidance relating to those subject areas where green infrastructure plays in the successful functioning of the human urban environment.