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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Envisioning carbon-smart and just urban green infrastructure

Lampinen, Jussi; Garcia-Antunez, Oriol; Olafsson, Anton Stahl; Kavanagh, Kayleigh C.; Gulsrud, Natalie M.; Raymond, Christopher M.


To address the inter-connected climate and biodiversity crises, it is crucial to understand how multifunctional urban green infrastructure (UGI) is perceived to contribute to carbon neutrality, biodiversity, human well-being, and justice outcomes in cities. We explore how urban residents, including youth, associate carbon-related meanings with multifunctional UGI and how these meanings relate to co-benefits to biodiversity, well-being, and broader sustainability outcomes. Our findings are based on a survey distributed among urban residents of Helsinki, Finland (n = 487) and reveal how carbon-related meanings of UGI manifest at different levels of abstraction, agency, and scale, and incorporate community values and concerns attributed to the planning, features, functions, and transformational dimensions of UGI. Core carbon-related meanings of UGI emphasize either actions towards sustainability, carbon neutrality, biodiversity, or unfamiliarity towards such meanings. Perceived justice concerns and the socio-demographic contexts of the respondents covaried with carbon-related meanings associated with UGI. The results illustrate community perceptions of how it is not only possible, but rather expected, that multifunctional UGI is harnessed to tackle climate change, human well-being, and biodiversity loss in cities. Challenges for implementing the carbon-related benefits of UGI include navigating the different expectations placed on UGI and including residents with diverse socio-economic backgrounds during the process. Our findings contribute to a holistic understanding of how multifunctional UGI can help bridge policy agendas related to carbon neutrality, biodiversity protection, and human well-being that cities can implement when aiming for sustainable, just, and socially acceptable transitions towards a good Anthropocene.


Carbon literacy; Carbon narratives; Environmental justice; Nature-based solutions; Sustainability transitions; Urban green infrastructure

Published in

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
2022, volume: 75, article number: 127682

Authors' information

Lampinen, Jussi
University of Helsinki
Garcia-Antunez, Oriol
University of Copenhagen
Olafsson, Anton Stahl
University of Copenhagen
Kavanagh, Kayleigh C.
University of Helsinki
Gulsrud, Natalie M.
University of Copenhagen
Raymond, Christopher
University of Helsinki
Raymond, Christopher
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture

Publication Identifiers


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