Regulating and Cultural Ecosystem Services of Urban Green Infrastructure in the Nordic Countries: A Systematic Review.

Affiliation

Amorim JH(1), Engardt M(2), Johansson C(2)(3), Ribeiro I(1), Sannebro M(2).
Author information:
(1)Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute
(SMHI), 601 76 Norrköping, Sweden.
(2)Environment and Health Administration, Box 8136, 104 20 Stockholm, Sweden.
(3)Department of Environmental Science, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

In the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), the Urban Green Infrastructure (UGI) has been traditionally targeted at reducing flood risk. However, other Ecosystem Services (ES) became increasingly relevant in response to the challenges of urbanization and climate change. In total, 90 scientific articles addressing ES considered crucial contributions to the quality of life in cities are reviewed. These are classified as (1) regulating ES that minimize hazards such as heat, floods, air pollution and noise, and (2) cultural ES that promote well-being and health. We conclude that the planning and design of UGI should balance both the provision of ES and their side effects and disservices, aspects that seem to have been only marginally investigated. Climate-sensitive planning practices are critical to guarantee that seasonal climate variability is accounted for at high-latitude regions. Nevertheless, diverging and seemingly inconsistent findings, together with gaps in the understanding of long-term effects, create obstacles for practitioners. Additionally, the limited involvement of end users points to a need of better engagement and communication, which in overall call for more collaborative research. Close relationships and interactions among different ES provided by urban greenery were found, yet few studies attempted an integrated evaluation. We argue that promoting interdisciplinary studies is fundamental to attain a holistic understanding of how plant traits affect the resulting ES; of the synergies between biophysical, physiological and psychological processes; and of the potential disservices of UGI, specifically in Nordic cities.