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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2014

Green space in compact cities: the benefits and values of urban ecosystem services in planning

Jansson, Märit;


This paper presents a literature review on urban green space benefits and values and discusses green space qualities that are important in providing ecosystem services for sustainability of compact cities. Green spaces and elements provide many functions, services and benefits which are needed for the sustainable development of urban areas, as shown in numerous research studies. However, there is often a gap between the research findings on urban ecosystem services and urban planning processes, with green spaces risking being undervalued in compact cities. Two possible reasons for this gap are discussed in this paper: lack of compiled knowledge of the number and extent of ecosystem services provided by urban green space and the need for descriptions of valuable green space qualities including properties and potentials. Previous studies on urban green spaces and their contribution to economic, health, quality of life and ecological benefits in compact cities are reviewed and described. Analysis of the literature indicates that sustainable compact cities can be expected to need green spaces which are close to people, coherent and of sufficient size, varied and well-maintained and where people can engage in development. Such aspects can be increasingly considered in planning practice.


compact city; densification; ecosystem services; green values; planning; urban green space

Published in

The Nordic Journal of Architectural Research

2014, volume: 26, number: 2, pages: 139-160

Authors' information

UKÄ Subject classification

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Landscape Architecture
Other Civil Engineering

URI (permanent link to this page)