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Research article2013Peer reviewed

Green spaces of European cities revisited for 1990-2006

Kabisch, Nadja; Haase, Dagmar


Prolonged urbanisation has many negative environmental impacts, such as air pollution, noise, and reduced space for recreation. Urban green spaces counteract those impacts and help to maintain the urban quality of life. Numerous case studies have already documented the beneficial functions of such green spaces. However, comparatively little is known about the dynamics of urban green spaces provisioning across a number of cities. We analysed the development of urban green space provision, urban residential area, population and household number in 202 European cities over a time period beginning in 1990 and ending in 2006. We identified an overall increase in urban green spaces from the year 2000 to the year 2006, while the data reported nearly no change between the year 1990 and the year 2000. This increase was mainly in cities in Western and Southern Europe. In contrast, most of the East European cities experienced a decline accompanied by population shrinkage. In addition, urban residential areas continued to increase regardless of population growth or decline. Based on these data, we conclude that a decrease in population does not automatically lead to a decline in residential areas and a subsequent increase in urban green space on a large scale. On a small-scale, however, demolition, de-sealing of soils and brownfield re-use all represent novel opportunities for the enlargement of urban green spaces in shrinking cities. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Urban green space; Urban residential area; Population; Households; Europe

Published in

Landscape and Urban Planning
2013, Volume: 110, pages: 113-122

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences

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