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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

The Implementation of Green Infrastructure: Relating a General Concept to Context and Site

Lindholm, Gunilla


In the quest for more sustainable urban landscape development, the concept of "green infrastructure" (GI) has become central in policy documents and as a multifunctional general planning tool. GI is not, however, a simple and unambiguous solution. While in policy documents there are claims for more and connected GI, actual urban development takes another direction. The densifying imperative is hard to combine with an increased and more connected GI. This paper argues for a critical and diversified approach to the concept of GI, in order to facilitate its implementation in urban planning and management. Any kind of GI will not deliver all ecosystems services in any place, not without land use conflicts, investments and long term operating costs. This calls for a GI concept linked to actors and mediating conflicting values. Linguistic as well as spatial definitions of the two relevant dichotomies of "green-grey" and "public-private" are crucial in GI location, design, construction and management, it is argued. Overarching representations of GI will be needed, but not only pictured as a separate system, but also displayed with necessary integration to the whole urban landscape. Development over time will need an intersectorial implementation and management program. Some of the GI intentions may be implemented in planning processes, some through re-organization and redesign of public space, and some by agreements with landowners. To reach out to implementation in ordinary urban development, GI needs to be described in a way that establishes points of connection to a variety of relevant actors and organizations taking part in implementation of GI.


green infrastructure; sustainable urban development; urban planning; landscape representations

Published in

2017, Volume: 9, number: 4, article number: 610
Publisher: MDPI AG

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Landscape Architecture

    Publication identifier


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