Jorge H. Amorim (Sweden) 1; Gunn Persson (Sweden) 1; Christina Wikberger (Sweden) 2
1 - Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI); 2 - Stockholm City
Urban green infrastructure (UGI) solutions have increased in popularity as cost-effective adaptation measures targeted at handling extreme weather events, while resulting on multiple benefits to health, economy and environment. The project ‘Green Infrastructure in Nordic cities’, G.I.Nord, aimed at identifying practical needs and obstacles, as well as knowledge gaps, to a more efficient implementation of UGI as a tool for climate change adaptation in Nordic cities.
For this purpose, G.I.Nord gathered scientists, end-users and stakeholders working on urban planning and design, environmental aspects and climate. A review of the ‘grey’ literature on UGI in Nordic cities was carried out and complemented by study visits. During a workshop and a live stream webinar an online real-time voting system collected answers from the audience submitted via mobile phone. The analysis of the questionnaire shows that half of the respondents worked at Swedish municipalities, one third were from national authorities and the rest were consultants. More than 60% of the participants recognized that UGI is used for adapting cities to a changing climate. The problems to be solved by UGI are mostly related to water (29%), heat (21%), health and social issues (both with 17%), and air quality (12%). While the main identified driver for the implementation of UGI in Nordic cities has traditionally been the handling of cloudbursts, the cooling effect is acknowledged as a complementary ecosystem service. This conclusion is not unrelated to the hot summer of 2018 in Scandinavia. The increased awareness of the impacts of heat waves has expectably enhanced the interest for UGI solutions.
Almost all of the respondents agreed that UGI is important, but there is a clear disagreement on whether it is easy or not with green solutions. As knowledge gaps, economy and effects are clearly highlighted. Co-effects, such as on air quality, are still not fully clear. Methods for the implementation and management are asked for, as well as good examples and planning tools. There is also a lack of studies on long term effects. Laws, guidelines, political decisions and responsibility issues were pointed out as problems. Obstacles are lack of cooperation between actors, lack of competence and budget, but also the need to think different. Many actors ask for more knowledge on UGI. We conclude that since there is easy available material it is much an issue of inspire and inform.