Ecosystem services are the functions of ecosystems that sustains or enhances people’s well-being and living conditions. ‘Urban Ecosystem Services’ is becoming more and more popular within the discourse on sustainable urban development.
Most of the world’s population live in cities and is expected to reach 70% by 2050. Although occupying just 2 percent of the Earth’s surface, urbanized areas already use 75% of the planet’s natural resources, which results in resource depletion, loss of biodiversity, pollution and climate change. Furthermore, due to a lot of dark, hard and impermeable surfaces urban areas are often warmer compared to the surrounding rural areas – known as the “urban heat island effect” – and have high risk of flooding after a heavy storm event. Urban areas often also suffer from high levels of pollution, both noise, in the soil and air. Therefore, healthy urban ecosystems and biological diversity are vital for cities to function properly since they efficiently reduce many of the negative effects of urbanization. We can increase and strengthening the urban ecosystems by increasing greenery in the cities – what is called green infrastructure. A well planned and maintained green infrastructure with green roofs, healthy urban trees, rain-gardens, ponds, green walls and other green elements enhance the urban ecosystem health and resilience – the ability to recover from disturbances or changes. The concept of ecosystem services is fundamental to an understanding of the great importance of green infrastructure. It recognizes the dependence of human societies on nature-based systems, also within the urban realm.
In this visit we look at the benefits of different green infrastructure investments. We discuss the planning and design process, including the Green Space Factor used in Malmö at the Bo01 project and other methods that is being developed. The visit includes a guided tour at tour roof garden and in the Augusteborg Eco-City.