A Guide to Public Green Space Planning for Urban Ecosystem Services | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
October 2020
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© 2020 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

Street trees, native plantings, bioswales, and other forms of green infrastructure alleviate urban air and water pollution, diminish flooding vulnerability, support pollinators, and provide other benefits critical to human well-being. Urban planners increasingly value such urban ecosystem services (ES), and effective methods for deciding among alternative planting regimes using urban ES criteria are under active development. In this effort, integrating stakeholder values and concerns with quantitative urban ES assessments is a central challenge; although it is widely recommended, specific approaches have yet to be explored. Here, we develop, apply, and evaluate such a method in the Friendly Area Neighborhood of Eugene, Oregon by investigating the potential for increased urban ES through the conversion of public lawn to alternative planting regimes that align with expressed stakeholder priorities. We first estimated current urban ES from green space mapping and published supply rates, finding lawn cover and associated ES to be dominant. Resident and expert priorities were then revealed through surveys and Delphi analyses; top priorities included air quality, stormwater quality, native plantings, and pollinator habitat, while concerns focused on cost and safety. Unexpectedly, most residents expressed a willingness to support urban ES improvements financially. This evidence then informed the development of planting regime alternatives among which we compared achievable future urban ES delivery, revealing clear differences among those that maximized stakeholder priorities, those that maximized quantitative urban ES delivery, and their integration. The resulting contribution is a straightforward method for identifying planting regimes with a high likelihood of success in delivering desired urban ES in specific local contexts.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Elderbrock, Evan
Enright, Chris
Lynch, Kathryn A.
Rempel, Alexandra R.


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