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2023 | Buch

Green Infrastructure

Planning Strategies and Environmental Design


Über dieses Buch

This book analyses international Green Infrastructure (GI) planning and design strategies. The GI strategy is widely recognized for its multifunctionality (as a tool for ecological, economic and social enhancement) and multiscalarity. Starting from this assumption, the book intends to implement the concept of GI and blue networks in planning strategies and their linked urban projects.

New urban and regional paradigms of the latest years, such as urban sprawl, ecosystem services, biodiversity, urban resilience, climate change and health emergencies, have made it necessary to rethink cities and territories and their related plans and projects. To satisfy these paradigms, worldwide plans and projects have started to focus both on short-term and long-term processes and strategies which integrate environmental, landscape and ecological elements.

Chapters 1 and 6 are available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License via


Chapter 1. Framing Green and Blue Infrastructure
Green and blue infrastructure (GBI) is increasingly popular in international literature and cultural debates. Indeed, international opinion agrees that GBI is a strategic planning and design tool to face current and upcoming societal challenges. However, goals and practical applications are not fixed and differ based on disciplinary approaches and geographical areas. Thus, the chapter attempts to provide a systematic frame on the current cultural debate on GBI, presenting the diverse contributions deriving from planning and design practices, from vast scale strategies to local projects.
Benedetta Giudice, Gilles Novarina, Angioletta Voghera

Planning Strategies

Chapter 2. Milton Keynes, the “Forest City”. From the Landscape Planning to the Advent of the Car, Lessons for the Future Green Infrastructure?
This chapter presents the case of the British New Town of Milton Keynes. Programmed in 1967, this true urban laboratory is the setting of numerous experiments. From the origins of green infrastructure in landscape planning to city planning, we will explore how its designers contributed to preserving and creating habitat areas for wildlife. The landscaping project implemented is sophisticated and detailed, designed according to a search for efficiency in a long-term perspective. Milton Keynes foreshadows some of the current challenges related to territorial development and green infrastructure.
Malaury Forget
Chapter 3. Towards a Method of Assessing the Well-Being Brought by Landscape and Heritage Along a Blue and Green Infrastructure: The Loire Valley (France)
This paper summarises the progress of a research project that developed criteria to link well-being to landscape, heritage, and environmental issues, by experimenting a method that can bring operational extensions. The project was part of the economic evaluation of amenities that place well-being as one of the fundamental principles for assessing the quality of life in the context of enhancing ecosystem services, biodiversity, and urban resilience towards climate change. The research focused on the case study of the Loire Valley—UNESCO World Heritage, France—taking advantage of a ‘natural’ blue and green infrastructure supposedly comforting social well-being and not opposing biodiversity restoration. The methodology was based on (i) interviews with the different categories of actors—which helped identify conditions of well-being, prioritise them, and come up with a (non-exhaustive) list; validated during (ii) collective readings of the landscape and heritage; (iii) workshops were then used to validate these criteria and evaluate their importance in the perception of well-being. In the long term, the suggestions proposed should help influence economic dynamics, suggest spatial planning measures through urban planning documents, and improve performances of the environment and society through the enhancement of blue and green corridors, landscape, and heritage.
Laura Verdelli
Chapter 4. Unfolding the Aniene River in Peri-Urban Rome. From Conflicts to Opportunities for a Sustainable Strategy
Over the last decade, spatial planning tools have been embedding Green Infrastructure with the aim to preserve natural features and stimulate regeneration processes in open space, especially in peri-urban areas where suburbs mingle with agricultural and natural landscapes, and along the rivers, often neglected. This contribution frames the low course of the Aniene River, the main tributary of the Tiber River, as a potential ‘blue–green infrastructure’, deemed capable of countering landscape fragmentation in a crucial area of the Metropolitan City of Rome, crossing three Municipalities holding different local planning tools. This relevant area hosts some 500,000 people living in a low-density conurbation along the Aniene and Via Tiburtina, which is commonly referred to as ‘Città Tiburtina’. Despite being the backbone of the Città Tiburtina, the Aniene is generally overlooked or perceived as no man’s land, even due to institutional disregard of inherent natural and heritage value in the area. In recent years, several bottom-up activities such as urban agriculture and urban greening practices have gradually taken hold in the urban fringe, accounting for demand for small-scale solutions able to improve the overall quality of the living environment. Finally, the Aniene River Contract complements traditional planning and represents the main opportunity for participatory processes where community turns out to be central.
Romina D’Ascanio, Anna Laura Palazzo
Chapter 5. Landscape and Ecological Networks
This chapter proposes a reflection on the possible role of landscape and ecological networks within the local urban planning practices. We face a constant population growth in cities, and peri-urban and marginal areas are increasingly subjected to environmental degradation. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the ecological values of the environment. This contribution, starting from some pilots conducted in Piedmont Region, reflects on the operational urban planning paradigms. The importance of green infrastructures and ecological quality for sustainable and resilient cities is sustained by a proposal of local planning regulations. The chapter aims to tackle the quest for new forms of implementation based on integrating the approaches to planning the urban and ecological problems to ensure the complete compatibility between urban transformation and the demands for environmental quality. The ecological regulations described propose an evolution of the meaning of the planning schemes, especially those applicable to green space. Therefore, this contribution focuses on an innovative model of planning and management at the local scale, the role of ecosystem services, and the relationship between the biodiversity of the ecological network structural areas and peri-urban and agricultural residual ecological areas to be strengthened to improve connectivity between ecosystems.
Luigi La Riccia
Chapter 6. A Multi-Scalar Green Infrastructure Project for the Landscape Enhancement and Regional Regeneration of Media and Alta Valtellina
In the process of updating the Lombardy Region’s territorial and landscape planning tools, the Green Infrastructure has been defined as a strategic landscape infrastructure built based on the interpretation, assessment, and mapping of Ecosystem Services, with the aim of increasing their relative performance and, consequently, their Natural capital. The Regional Green Infrastructure is inspired by the European Commission’s principles, defined as a network of natural, rural, and anthropic landscape elements planned at a strategic level to improve human well-being. The Green Infrastructure design is multi-scale in that it allows both for the analysis of Ecosystem Services using the most appropriate functional and ecological scale and for the formulation of strategies and objectives that can be taken up and systematised by the most appropriate planning and programming tools with respect to the scale of implementation. This paper describes the procedure for downscaling the project contents and design of the Lombardy Region’s Green Infrastructure in the pilot area of Media and Alta Valtellina, as a fragile landscape context subjected to significant planning projects scheduled for the coming years. The Green Infrastructure downscaling procedure also becomes an opportunity to systematise and highlight the synergies among the various strategic and design-related components developed in support of the Lombard landscape planning tools.
Andrea Arcidiacono, Silvia Ronchi, Viviana di Martino, Guglielmo Pristeri
Chapter 7. Re-urbanising the Contemporary City: Spatial Planning and Green Strategy in Turin
Among the different configurations that public and private space takes on in the city, green space is undoubtedly the component where the improvement of the health and well-being of urban communities and the quality of settlements, as well as social inclusion and the mitigation of the impacts produced by climate change, are most at stake. The environmental, social, economic and technological challenges the contemporary city faces require the revision of traditional models of modern urbanism. That is, they call for a rethinking, above all, of the more recent spatial models that have mostly focused on the punctual government of transformations and reconversions of urban brownfields, without however succeeding either in limiting the persistent intensity of widespread urbanisation processes or in grafting broader effects of urban regeneration (in its multiple components: environmental, social, housing and employment). Through the case study of the City of Turin, this paper tackles the theme of green infrastructures as a frame of a broader and anthropocentric ecological-environmental reorganisation of the contemporary city. In this perspective, the urban scale opens up new ways of working through the use of design devices capable of becoming a structuring part of the urban spatial project, contributing to directing choices towards objectives of complex regeneration (ecological-environmental, social and economic) of the city aimed at an optimal use of resources.
Carolina Giaimo

Environmental Design

Chapter 8. When Constraints Become Assets in the Design of Blue-Green Infrastructures: An Insight from Two Cases in the Western Part of France (Loire River Basin)
This chapter focuses on projects of blue-green infrastructures (BGI) located in two middle-sized French cities in the Western part of France, on the Loire river basin (the Ile aux Planches urban park in Le Mans and the Parc Balzac in Angers). They constitute illustrations of recent and innovative approaches in the design of BGI in France. In both cases, planners had to face major challenges, whether technical or political. Innovative solutions were found to overcome technical difficulties (projects located in flood-prone areas, on brownfield sites and facing heavy pollution). Local oppositions and strong involvement of inhabitants forced planners to redefine and improve their projects. We point out how planners successfully turned those various constraints into assets and synergies to design multifunctional BGI in both cases. However, when comparing the projects, we see important differences. In Parc Balzac, planners clearly succeeded in designing a project with strong synergies between its various functions (biodiversity protection, leisure and education to environment, flood risk management). In the case of the Ile aux Planches, in Le Mans, synergies are not so obvious. In a broader perspective, this chapter questions the concept of BGI and its capacity to address the question of synergies between functions in green parks.
Marie Fournier, Mathieu Bonnefond
Chapter 9. ‘River Movie’, Nature, and Culture Projects on the Banks of Lyon’s Rhône and Saône Rivers
In this chapter, we examine how three major regeneration projects to enhance green and blue infrastructure in Lyon’s metropolitan area have evolved in recent years on the banks of the Rhône and Saône rivers. Already in the 1990s, Anneau bleu offered some solutions that have come to be viewed as central to preserving drinking water resources, natural areas, and biological corridors. In the 2000s, with the Berges du Rhône, the city dwellers’ appetite for nature was satisfied with the creation of a relaxing place within a décor laid out as a natural space. Since the 2010s, with the Rives de Saône project, the riverbank riparian zone has become a natural and ecological connection between various elements of the metropolis. This project, named ‘River movie’ by its artistic director, was conceived as a journey along the Saône River featuring works by artists and a waterfront redesigned by environmental designers and landscape architects. It takes into account the reality that rivers sometimes overflow and proposes to adapt intelligently to the rivers that cut through the city. Thus, strategies and urban design are being reconceived to better address sustainable development and give more prominence to artistic interventions.
Natacha Seigneuret
Chapter 10. Designing a Captivating Proximity to Water: Two Case Studies of the Iberian Peninsula
Although today the proximity to the hydrographic network is no longer a necessary condition to settle, riverfronts and blue-green corridors seem to be an appealing and winning urban regeneration formula and a support for landscape and urban projects that tend towards an urban habitability. When analysing how densely urbanised areas historically marked by watercourses become terrain where urban policy aspires to build a greener and liveable urban future, the goal is to understand what kind of role water is called to play with regard to the urban surroundings: from water as historical ‘sign’ and memory to water as one of the most immediate and affordable public space and connection. This paper focuses on two interventions implemented in Loures (Tagus Estuary humid system, Lisbon Metropolitan Area, Portugal) and Girona (Ter River Basin, Catalonia, Spain). Through the case studies of the Iberian Peninsula, both part of ongoing interventions aiming to create new ‘vicinity’ to (water) landscape for the general public, the work concludes that new-found accessibility and a captivating proximity to the waters—achieved even with limited intervention (by involving careful use of money and resources)—can be the first tool to value, recognise and appropriate urban open spaces.
Caterina Anastasia
Chapter 11. Limiting Soil Sealing and Depaving: Local Actions for Regenerating Public Spaces to Build Green Infrastructures
Green Infrastructure (GI) is part of nature-based solutions to mitigate and adapt the local microclimate and climate of urban areas to climate change. In Italy, the lack of green elements in urban spaces of medium-sized cities calls for improvement of the urban ecological network due to citizens’ demands for better well-being and health. This chapter indicates the need to launch a national campaign to deseal over-paved public urban spaces and plant new green elements by 2030 as public space design actions. Limiting and then stopping soil sealing is the first condition to rethink public spaces in Italian, and even European, cities in a more holistic and resilient way. Secondly, encouraging citizen activism towards urban GI is strategic in resilient policies to improve connectivity and networking of the social fabric, as confirmed by the reported international and national cases. In this regard, GI is considered a multi-benefit solution that should be planned according to new digital tools in planning and architecture. The aim is to identify the most critical areas within the urban context that need to be depaved to accommodate green canopies, trees, green roofs, and other solutions with an approach potentially replicable in Italian and European cities.
Fabrizio Aimar
Chapter 12. “Surviving the City”. Nature as an Architecture Design Strategy for a More Resilient Urban Ecosystem
In a scenario in which cities will be the environment inhabited by more than 80% of the world’s population, architecture has to respond to the challenge of shared living in a critical environmental context. Climate change has pushed the architecture profession to expand its knowledge for more adaptive design towards the environment and its inhabitants. Nature becomes the strategy that can help reduce the impacts of climate change on cities and improve people’s mental and physical well-being. This essay investigates the architect’s new role in the green transition. This necessary transition opens up new scenarios: design should overcome the individual building and the massive use of technologies or simple retrofitting but deal with the relationship the building has with its context. New tools derived from research and the ecosystem-based approach can help respond to the main goals of Agenda 2030 and the values of the New European Bauhaus. The analysis of case studies will demonstrate the effectiveness of this trans-scalar approach, from the single building to the urban scale.
Roberta Ingaramo, Maicol Negrello

Innovative Practices. A Dialogue Between Researchers and Practitioners

Chapter 13. From Theory to Planning Practice. The Green and Blue Infrastructure in the Land Use Plan of Ravenna. Interview with Carlo Gasparrini
Carlo Gasparrini is an architect, planner and full professor of Urbanism at the University of Naples Federico II. He is a member of the INU Executive Board. He is a designer of urban, territorial and landscape plans and projects, amongst which the Masterplan for the eastern area of Naples, the Vesuvius National Park Plan, the local land use plan and the strategic projects of Rome. He has published numerous research, monographs and essays on the contemporary city and the themes of landscape and ecological regeneration. The interview focused on the cultural innovation of resilience and the role of green and blue infrastructure as a strategic planning and design paradigm to regenerate the city, focusing on the Ravenna Land Use Plan experience.
Benedetta Giudice, Gilles Novarina, Angioletta Voghera
Chapter 14. Green and Blue Infrastructure. Integration of Landscapes. Interview with Andreas Kipar (Studio LAND)
Andreas Kipar, landscape architect, is the founder and creative director of the international landscape architecture studio LAND, with offices in Germany, Italy and Switzerland. He is the inventor of the “Raggi Verdi” [Green Rays] model in Milan, favouring new slow mobility and green urban planning. This model was also applied in Essen, the 2017 European Green Capital, and in the award-winning Smart City of Rublyovo-Arkhangelskoye in Moscow. He was charged with drafting urban and peri-urban green plans in several cities, including Milan, Cagliari, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Essen, and with developing territorial strategic plans, such as in the Ruhr basin, on the Karst Plateau, in the Langhe, on the Lake Garda and various Italian islands. The dialogue insists on diverse skills and sensitivities to reimagine the contemporary city aiming at promoting a sustainable and resilient organisational model.
Benedetta Giudice, Gilles Novarina, Angioletta Voghera
Chapter 15. Integration of Biodiversity in the Urban Project Approach. Interview with Magali Volkwein and Sébastien Roussel (Agence Devillers et Associés, Paris)
Founded in 1991 by Christian Devillers, the D&A studio specialises in urban projects with the ambition of managing the city, from the vast territory to the kerb. Composed of architects, urban planners and landscape architects, engineers and sociologists, the studio has gradually diversified its fields of action and works on metropolitan strategies, eco-districts or urban renewal projects, the insertion of mobility infrastructures into the landscape and the creation of parks or gardens. Magali Volkwein has been president of the studio since 2021, and Sébastien Roussel has been a landscape architect associated since 2021. The interview focused on the gradual inclusion of biodiversity issues in the urban project approach and the importance of ecology in producing the city.
Benedetta Giudice, Gilles Novarina, Angioletta Voghera
Chapter 16. Future Perspectives and Approaches Towards Operationalisation
The chapter discusses the innovative contribution of green and blue infrastructure (GBI) in its diverse fields of action: the cultural approach, its ecological application in regional and urban planning and design at different scales. Starting from the French and Italian case studies and the other international best practices, we attempt to redefine topics, methods and tools to operationalise GBI.
Benedetta Giudice, Gilles Novarina, Angioletta Voghera
Green Infrastructure
herausgegeben von
Benedetta Giudice
Gilles Novarina
Angioletta Voghera
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