Ecology of urban green spaces: The way forward in answering major research questions


I use a two-tier approach to structure future research challenges in urban green space ecology. First, questions that are too large for a single country or discipline to address revolve around two issues: (a) how urban green spaces will be affected by socio-demographic and environmental drivers, such as climate change, and (b) how to plan and manage urban green spaces for the benefit of urban dwellers and biodiversity in the face of these changes. Second, questions that have a local origin, but are of international interest deal with, e.g. ecosystem services, urban resilience and human health as well as planning, management and governance of urban green spaces. A research framework for studying these issues should incorporate concepts from natural and social sciences. Ecosystem services approach could form a core of such an framework also integrating the spatial dimension (landscape ecology). Comparative research at the global scale is important to increase our understanding of the variation in urban green spaces and the ecosystem services they provide. To foster collaboration between researchers and stakeholders, international platforms, such as the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the City Biodiversity Index (Singapore Index), could be used.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Jari Niemelä
Landscape and Urban Planning