This project aims to meet the demand by green space practitioners for knowledge and practical tools to improve the planning and governance of urban green spaces. GREEN SURGE involves researchers from many disciplines, including ecologists, geographers and social scientists together with planners, arboriculturists, and parks managers. The consortium will deliver knowledge on the linkages between urban green infrastructure and important societal goals such as health and well-being, community cohesion, climate change adaptation and the green economy.
Forest Research is contributing expertise and scientific insights across a number of the project’s work package, each with specific objectives.
- Forest Research leads on the delivery of WP7. The objective of WP7 is to identify urban green space stakeholders and organize regular workshops to engage in knowledge exchange through Urban Learning Labs. In Scotland Forest Research contributes expertise which will support practitioners in Edinburgh to be more strategic in investment decisions for the city’s green spaces. For example, we are studying how insect pollinators such as bees and butterflies are influenced by the proportion of trees, shrubs and grass within domestic gardens in the city, and what this means for steps to support biodiversity
- linked to WP7, Forest Research contributes significantly WP8 which supports groups of stakeholders as Learning Alliances to address key green infrastructure issues in cities across Europe, including Edinburgh
- in WP5 and WP6 Forest Research plays a key role in leading and conducting research identifying innovative methods of involving communities and private individuals in aspects of urban green space management and integration within formal urban planning systems. Forest Research has investigated community woodland management, urban agriculture, citizen science and Neighbourhood Planning in Edinburgh and Bristol. Good Practice Guides based on the research will form one of the outputs of WP5 and WP6
- in WP2 Forest Research supports the examination of how socio-cultural background of users influence urban green space preferences and use
- In WP3 Forest Research explore relationships between urban green space, biodiversity, biocultural diversity, human health and social cohesion, including synergies, trade-offs and spatial conflicts, using spatial mapping.
Results so far
The research to date has:
- Provided evidence for variation in green space preferences, varying in biodiversity levels, between different socio-demographic groups in five European cities, including Edinburgh (see Interaction of biological and cultural diversity in urban green spaces report);
- experimented with different forms of spatial mapping to improve our understanding of the multiple ecosystem services that green spaces provide (D3.2 - in draft);
- provided an overview of strategic urban green infrastructure planning and implementation in 20 European case study cities, including Edinburgh and Bristol (see Green infrastructure planning and implementation report and Report of City Portraits);
- analysed advanced approaches and strategies for urban green infrastructure planning in 14 case study cities, including Edinburgh and Bristol (D5.2 - in draft)
- identified a range of innovative participatory governance arrangements in relation to urban greenspace management in 20 European case study cities, including Edinburgh and Bristol (see The governance of urban green spaces in selected EU-cities report and Report of City Portraits);
- explored in more detail examples of innovative participatory governance arrangements in 16 European cities, including Edinburgh and Bristol (see Innovative governance of urban green spaces report);
- developed a toolbox to identify stakeholders and monitor relationships and involvement in urban green space planning and governance over time (see Local Learning Alliances established in five Urban Learning Labs report);
- provided opportunities for collaborative learning and knowledge production involving both researchers and practitioners in Urban Learning Lab workshops organized in Edinburgh (see Iterative place-based knowledge gathering in Urban Learning Labs report); and
- prompted FR to partner with researchers and professionals from the City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust in the collaborative group ‘Edinburgh Living Landscape (ELL)’ to create healthy, nature-rich and resilient green spaces (see Iterative place-based knowledge gathering in Urban Learning Labs report).
GREEN SURGE was launched in November 2013 and will run until November 2017. Data collection and dissemination of findings is ongoing and an up-to-date overview of available reports and outputs can be found by navigating to relevant work package pages.
- GREEN SURGE Newsletter #1: Linking people and green space in urban environments(PDF-1306KB)
- GREEN SURGE Newsletter #2: Joining forces for greener European cities(PDF-1143KB)
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Funders and partners
This research is funded by EU Seventh Framework Programme. The project consortium includes 24 partners from 11 European countries.