The Importance of Green Infrastructure in the City
Summary: Human cultures are shaped by local ecosystems, and humans are intensively altering the environment, resulting in a dramatic decline in natural and cultural capital. Socio-ecological systems are increasingly vulnerable due to disruption of food resources, natural and cultural traditions. Revitalization projects can offer ways to link knowledge with action to achieve optimal outcomes for both nature and culture. Traditional ecological knowledge of the local community can potentially be important for the conservation of biodiversity within the linked socio-ecological system of the cultural landscape.
Nature and landscape conservation needs new principles to guide it. Although the public may not understand the concept of biodiversity, they value nature as a source of water, fuel, building materials, recreation and inspiration.
Green infrastructure can be broadly defined as a strategically planned network of high quality natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features. It consists of a wide range of different environmental features that can occur at different scales, from small linear features such as hedges or green roofs to entire functional ecosystems such as intact floodplains, forests, peatlands or free-flowing rivers.
Almost 75% of the urban population in the EU is exposed to above-limit concentrations of air pollutants such as suspended particulate matter PM10, ground-level ozone, BaP, etc. Despite significant investments into reduction of emissions, the extent of areas with poor air quality varies considerably from year to year, depending on, for example, meteorological conditions. Poor air quality is associated with 400,000 deaths in the EU.
Extreme heat is a growing problem in cities across Europe. A strategy to mitigate heat by planting green infrastructure should be tailored to the specific conditions of a region.
Research results suggest that tree plantations can reduce land surface temperatures in cities by up to 12°C. The study described the role of ecosystem services in cultural landscapes that include urban environments. Particular attention was paid to the role of vegetation in reducing the impact of air pollution in cities, using the example of the evaluation of total ground-level ozone uptake by newly planted vegetation in the experimental site Ostrava-Radvanice.