Resilience through a methodology to plan green infrastructures

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The increasing use in recent years of the word resilience when considering sustainable development, linking relief to development, adaptation to climate change and the need to give greater priority to addressing vulnerability has been much discussed. It has proved attractive because it appears to offer a way to bring different disciplines and perspectives under a single conceptual umbrella. The impacts of urban sprawl on peri-urban landscapes include, among other things: loss of natural habitats for species; lack of natural water retention areas; negative impacts on water quality; negative impacts on human health, mental/physical wellbeing, recreation, social interaction; impacts in terms of climate adaptation. The climate crisis is hitting a territory in which the hydrogeological instability has made the mountain slopes unstable and fragile and where the lowland areas improperly exploited, particularly in the vicinity of rivers, have become spaces of devastation due to floods and landslides. The territory has suffered profound and disfiguring changes in terms of structure, function and, consequently, of resilience capacity to these extreme events (Fasolino, 2017). Green Infrastructures (GI) can mitigate the effects of climate change and extreme events that they pose, managing, for example, the devastating power of floods or landslides, re-establishing spaces and functions (Austin, 2014; Benedict and McMahon, 2006; Lafortezza et al., 2013). The main elements of GI include parks, private gardens, agricultural fields, hedges, trees, woodland, green roofs, green walls, rivers and ponds. The theme of GI is closely related to Ecosystem Services (ES), which are fundamental to maintaining the resilience of a territory. We propose a methodology for the effective planning of a GI network that will help achieve numerous benefits, including: reducing risks to people and property, improving psychological health & well-being, boosting local economic regeneration and providing a habitat for wildlife. There are currently any tools available and many more emerging. The challenge is to ensure that well planned GI, providing functions which will meet numerous planning objectives, can go beyond the purely scientific and environmental framework and become an integral part of public policies; but this requires thorough planning, design and management. This paper shows how to develop a GI network using existing European data. Most input data for the Geographic Information System (GIS) was taken from published and reclassified sources for analysis purposes. The choices made during the data processing and analysis are based on expert opinions and are open to public control. In conclusion, to achieve the resilience of a territory, it is very important to promote the mainstreaming of risk assessments into land-use policy development and implementation, including into urban planning.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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