The hidden landscape : on fine-scale green structure and its role regulating ecosystem services in the urban environment

Abstract: The thesis investigates and highlights the role of fine scale green structure in the urban landscape with regards to the regulating ecosystem services of runoff mitigation, wind speed regulation and modification to mean radiant temperatures. The analysis was based on case studies in southern Sweden, projecting from a flooding incident in the Höjeå river catchment in 2007 and the current seafront development of Lomma Harbour and similar schemes in the Öresund region. The aim has been to explore the potential of how seemingly fine scale green structure may contribute to regulating ecosystem services and thereby play an important role to SuDS (sustainable drainage systems), the urban microclimate and climate responsive design. Part of the aim has been to retrieve this information through quantitative indices and computational modelling, assuming that a numerical approach can produce comparative, rigorous and perceptible outcomes that act as efficient communication tools for e.g. city officials, planners, landscape architects, etc. The work combined a historical approach as well as computational modelling of numerical and tangible indices to shed some light on the hidden processes of regulating ecosystem services of fine-scale green structure. The SCS-CN approach was used for estimating surface runoff and ENVI-met for green structure influences on microclimate. It was found that within the green infrastructure network, individual configurations of green structure elements often influenced regulating ecosystem services beyond their proportionate size. Their influence depended in turn on place-specificity and contextual characteristics of e.g. geographical location, time of year, site spatial configuration and architectural composition. This is discussed with regard to urban densification (spatial), climate change and sustainable development and how the two tools used here can help in green infrastructure planning. The results are also discussed from a qualitative angle, introducing the question of how the collective configuration of dispersed green structure can contribute to a resilient green infrastructure in the urban landscape.

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