Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.02.029
Title (Primary) Urban green space availability in European cities
Author Kabisch, N.; Strohbach, M.; Haase, D.; Kronenberg, J.
Source Titel Ecological Indicators
Year 2016
Department CLE; iDiv; ESS
Volume 70
Page From 586
Page To 596
Language englisch
Keywords Urban green space availability; European Union; Urban Atlas; Environmental justice; Berlin; Łódź
UFZ wide themes RU6;

Urban green space (UGS) availability has become an increasingly important aspect of planning and research because of the importance of green spaces for the wellbeing of urban residents. Municipalities across the European Union (EU) use different indicators in this area. Some cities provide per-capita threshold values for urban green space (UGS); some have recommendations regarding the minimum distance to green space while others have no recommendations at all. In this study, we assess green space availability in 299 EU cities according to land use and a population data grid. The results show a diverse picture across the EU. Southern European cities show below-average availability values, which may be explained by their low forest and tree cover and reflect the history of cities in Southern Europe. Comparatively, the above-average availability values in Northern European cities are a result of not only their biophysical conditions and the presence of rich forestland in general but also of Northern European attitudes toward urban living that naturally value having forests close to home.

This assessment is complemented by a detailed case study analysis of two European cities – Berlin, Germany and Łódź, Poland. Results showed that this approach's explanatory power depends on the data used, scale of interest, resolution of data and estimated threshold value. By comparing results using different datasets and threshold values, we discuss opportunities and limitations for developing indicators of green space availability. We conclude that UGS availability is an important indicator to navigate urban complexity to improve human health and wellbeing but is only one component of the intricate social-ecological interactions within cities.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Kabisch, N., Strohbach, M., Haase, D., Kronenberg, J. (2016):
Urban green space availability in European cities
Ecol. Indic. 70 , 586 - 596 10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.02.029