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Mitigating and adapting to climate change: multi-functional and multi-scale assessment of green urban infrastructures

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Oliver Heidrich, Dr Ajay BhaveORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


In order to develop climate resilient urban areas and reduce emissions, several opportunities exist starting from conscious planning and design of green (and blue) spaces in these landscapes. Green urban infrastructure has been regarded as beneficial, e.g. by balancing water flows, providing thermal comfort. This article explores the existing evidence on the contribution of green spaces to climate change mitigation and adaptation services. We suggest a framework of ecosystem services for systematizing the evidence on the provision of bio-physical benefits (e.g. CO2 sequestration) as well as social and psychological benefits (e.g. improved health) that enable coping with (adaptation) or reducing the adverse effects (mitigation) of climate change. The multi-functional and multi-scale nature of green urban infrastructure complicates the categorization of services and benefits, since in reality the interactions between various benefits are manifold and appear on different scales. We will show the relevance of the benefits from green urban infrastructures on three spatial scales (i.e. city, neighborhood and site specific scales). We will further report on co-benefits and trade-offs between the various services indicating that a benefit could in turn be detrimental in relation to other functions. The manuscript identifies avenues for further research on the role of green urban infrastructure, in different types of cities, climates and social contexts. Our systematic understanding of the bio-physical and social processes defining various services allows targeting stressors that may hamper the provision of green urban infrastructure services in individual behavior as well as in wider planning and environmental management in urban areas.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Demuzere M, Orru K, Heidrich O, Olazabal E, Geneletti D, Orru H, Bhave A, Mittal N, Feliu E, Faehnle M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Environmental Management

Year: 2014

Volume: 146

Pages: 107–115

Print publication date: 15/12/2014

Online publication date: 24/08/2014

Acceptance date: 22/07/2014

Date deposited: 25/11/2014

ISSN (print): 0301-4797

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8630

Publisher: Academic Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2014.07.025


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Funder referenceFunder name
Finnish Environment Institute SYKE
Flemish regional government
Helsinki University Centre for Environment HENVI
TU0902European Science Foundation
SF0170006s08Estonian Target Financed Project
SF0180060s09Estonian Target Financed Project