Urban green networks : a socio-ecological framework for planning and design of green and blue spaces in Sweden and China

Abstract: Multi-disciplinary research is needed to address the issue of urban landscape fragmentation. Based on empirical and theoretical context analysis, a framework of network-based, socio-ecological methods and indicators that can be effectively applied by practitioners in different geographical locations was developed in this thesis. A methodological review and historical comparison were performed in order to create a socio-ecological perspective from which to analyse the fragmentation issue. An urban green networks framework was then formulated, based on a sound understanding of relevant fields. The framework process comprised four steps: landscape visualisation, structure representation, habitat identification and linkage calculation. The framework was applied and tested in Stockholm, Sweden and Xi’an, China, in order to cover both the Western and Eastern context and increase the relevance to international scholars. The first case study (Stockholm) examined the applicability of the framework and its potential effectiveness in current planning and management. A need for two main corridors to link the Royal National Park and the rest of green-blue space at city scale was identified. A detailed design in Hjorthagen, a district undergoing densification, was proposed in order to maintain densification while preserving local habitat connectivity. In the second case study (Xi’an), the context of the fragmentation situation was added to complement the framework analysis. This case was used to test the framework in a different context, while also searching for potential improvements to the framework. The case study identified a need for ten corridors of city green-blue space for constructing the network system and produced one site design of a second ring road. Based on the two case studies, it can be concluded that: i) the proposed framework for urban green networks can be applied to resolve the fragmentation issue in urban environments, and ii) framework application is context-dependent and thus requires a range of local knowledge. This thesis contributes to addressing the fragmentation issue in global cities and to the general body of knowledge on this topic. The proposed approach can be applied to other cities facing similar challenges.

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