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Governance systems of green spaces in cities

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September 6, 2016

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K. B. Darjee, J. Pretzsch

Master Students: The Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Institute of International

Forestry and Forest Products, Tharandt, Germany

darjeekb@gmail.com

ABSTRACT

Urban forestry was conceptualized in the late 1960s in North America, and grew out of what was initially termed environmental forestry. In line with environmental concerns in the towns and cities, the debate has concentrated on trees for landscape and amenity purposes, and, increasingly, on how trees may be used to modify specific aspects of the urban environment. From a governance perspective, urban forest governance is often spatially complex, and involves a range of stakeholders, state and non-state organizations.This paper analyses three elements of the governance of urban green spaces system: institutions, organizations involved and appreciation of knowledge in the urban green space management comparing two case studies.Urban forestry is a multi-level, multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary field. As the two cases reveal, all levels of governance can impact on urban forest from national to local scales. Study suggests that wider participation of actors incorporating citizens’ ideas and experiences in decisions making in the management of urban green space seems more effective and sustainable. In this regard, actors include not only government bodies, rather constellations of government and non-government actors including NGOs, professionals, and young and elderly people.

Keywords: Urban forestry, Governance, Stakeholders, Green space management

1. INTRODUCTION

With increasing urbanization in the 20th century, the incorporation of trees into urban settlements has increased to the point that the management of all trees within the urbanarea is considered a distinct discipline of forestry. Urban forestry was conceptualized in thelate 1960s in North America, and grew out of what was initially termed environmental forestry. This development is also found in Canada, Europe and Australia (Carter, 2005:8).
In line with environmental concerns in the towns and cities, the debate has concentrated on trees for landscape and amenity purposes, and, increasingly, on how trees may be used to modify specific aspects of the urban environment, for instance, noise, airborne pollution, heat, air currents (Carter, 2005:9).Foresters recognized two things: they had to deal with urban residents, and had the political power base shifted to cities (Miller, 1988:28).

Photo by Darjee, 2015: Pragarstr. Dresden

Photo by Darjee, 2015: Pragarstr. Dresden

The process of increasing urbanization in the developing world has received considerable academic scrutiny (for example, Leonard et al. 1989; Gilbert and Gugler, 1992;Hardoyet al.1992). It is a process of societal change intimately linked with global economics, history, geography and politics (Carter, 2005:11).

On a global scale, people living in urban areas exceed those residing in rural areas, with 54 per cent of the world’s population living in urban areas in 2014. In 1950, 30per cent of the world’s population was urban, andby 2050, 66 per cent of the world’s population isprojected to be urban although levels of urbanization vary greatlyaround the world (United Nations, 2014). These figures suggest that managing urban environment for growing urban population is a challenging task.

From a governance perspective, urban forest governance is often spatially complex, and involves a range of stakeholders, state and non-state organizations. This spatial and socio-political complexity is characteristic of urban environmental governance (Bulkeley and Betsill, 2005).

2. OBJECTIVES OF SEMINAR PAPER

This seminar paper has two main objectives:
•  Introduce briefly the concept of green space
•  Present governance systems of green space management focusing on two case studies

3. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

The term governance has been widely interpreted, depending on the context itis being used (Kooiman and Bavinck, 2005; Lebelet al., 2006; Biermann et al., 2009). Lawrence et al. (2011:1)have recently defined governance in the context of urban forestry as the institutions, organizations, knowledge and processes involved in making policy and management decisions. Following this definition, in this paper the governance of urban tree and green spaces (UTGS) refers to the institutions (formal and informal rules), organizations (key actors, not merely government), knowledge and processes that influence the management and use of urban green spaces.Urban forestry is a multi-level, multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary field.

Mayerset al. (2002:3) argue that the attainment of sustainable forest management (SFM) dependsupon matters far from the forest itself, but rather on the “extent and quality of enabling policy, legal andinstitutional conditions, put simply, on good forest governance”. “The former conditions together, influence how a society organizes itself to develop and manage forest wealth, to produce forest goods and services, and to consume them” (Mayerset al., 2002: 3). Urban forest governance is important because it differs from rural forestgovernance (Knuth, 2005; Lawrence et al., 2011). As Knuth (2005) puts, the policy and legal conditions for promoting forest and tree cover in urban environments and the constraints on the use of and access to these resources are different from those of forestry in rural areas. Lawrence et al. (2011) point out that unlike rural forest governance, urban forest governance involves a much wider range of stakeholders, interacting with state and non-state organizations operating at multiple scales. According to Lawrence et al. (2011: 2) “urban and peri-urban forest governance is important because it differs from but overlaps and contrasts with, other urban environmental governance”. Urban and peri-urban forestry governance is important because there are specific issues around urban trees, which combine beauty with threat to property because the urban forest is intensively used for a wide range of purposes, with recreational and aesthetic often being thedominant ones. As a result, interest groups and user demands play an important role in urban forest governance (Lawrence et al., 2011).

Urban forest management includes a wide range of institutions, organizations, professionals, knowledge and procedure in making policy and management decisions. Urban forest governance therefore refers to the structures, rules, partnerships and processes that shape decisions about urban and peri-urban trees and woodlands. These in turn lead, potentially, to the resource management and benefits. Jones et al. (2005) explain about the different types of governance model for urban green space management: municipality governance, neighborhood governance, private public partnership governance, sponsorship governance, private ownership and allotment garden.

Reviewing these studies, this paper analyses three elements of the governance of urban green spaces system (see figure 1): institutions, organization involved and appreciation of knowledge in the urban green space management. It illustrates some formal and informal rules developed between stakeholders; it also explains some key roles of actors as well as it tries to highlight the respect of local and traditional knowledge in the management system of urban green spaces.

conceptual-framework

Figure 1: Conceptual framework

 

This paper is based on descriptive (rather than normative or evaluative) analysis of existing research papers, articles and analytical approach. It compares two models of urban forest management from two different countries: a public green management approach (which encourages wider scale public participation) in CampiBisenzio, Italy, and a local partnership approach to develop recreational woodland in Heiðmörk, Iceland.

4. CASE STUDY ONE: CAMPI BISENZIO-A PUBLIC GREEN SPACE MANAGEMENT

Campi Bisenzio, Italy

Campi Bisenzio, Italy

CampiBisenzio is a small town on the south western edge of Florence with a population of approximately 50,000. In the past 30 years, it has seen one of the most spectacular industrial expansion resulting inrapid growth and great influx of workers from China, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Albania, Macedonia, North Africa and others towns in Tuscany.

To deal positively with this potentially stressfully set of circumstances CampiBisenzio is the first municipal council in Tuscany to appoint a Deputy for information and public participation (Jones et. al., 2005) which led to the creation of protected areas.With the wider scale public participation, joint management of green spaces has beenstarted.

Key actors involved in managing green space include municipality, Department of Environment, Department of Information, ARCI (The Recreation Association of the Socialist Democratic Party) and local people (young and elderly). Municipality established 70 protected areas (which provided green space resource equivalent to 28 square meter for every person in the town) and formed a long term care of green space network with the keen interest and active role of local people. This has been encouraged through a contract with the Recreation Association of the Socialistic Democratic Party (ARCI) which also provides an annual budget of 20,000 Euro. The management initiation of green spaces has been sponsored jointly by Department of Environment, Department of Information, and ARCI (Jones et. al., 2005).

In managing urban space, elderly people, in particular, have been consulted, highly respecting their wisdom and local knowledge. Consequently, increasing numbers of the elderly are engaged directly in the practical management of the green space network.

A summary of green space management in CampiBisenzio

A summary of green space management in CampiBisenzio

 

At the end of each year, town people assess the performance of the green space management. Positive outcomes in the green urban space management here is due largely to the adoption of highly participative approach involving a growing number of young people as volunteering alongside the elderly to the management of parks.

5. CASE STUDY TWO: HEIðMöRK ICELAND- A LOCAL PARTNERSHIP TO DEVELOP RECRETIONAL WOODLAND

Non-governmental organizations play a major role in urban forestry in Iceland. Most recreational woodlands were planted by local forestry societies (BenedikzandSharphéðinsdóttir, 1999). They were created on open land and have become urban woodlands due to public encouragement in the face of encroachment of built-up areas (Jones et. al., 2005).

Photo: Heiðmörk with Reykjavík

Photo: Heiðmörk with Reykjavík

Heiðmörk was established in 1950 on abandoned farmland on the outskirts of the city (Marteinsson, 1975) and first area to be planted specifically as recreation woodland was the forest park of Heiðmörk in Reykjavík. The land (1350 ha) area was heavily eroded and degraded (Svanbergsson, 1986). The Reykjavík Forestry Society (RFS) enclosed the land, later enlarged to 2800 ha, and made the initial planting, financed by Reykjavík city and RFS was also commissioned to manage the area (Jones et. al., 2005).

Plantation was done in different ways: by volunteers on a small parcel of land-allotted to private societies or business where plants, fertilizers and supervisions were provided by RFS at the cost of the city authority. With the financial support of city, local businesses and private individuals, RFS staff also planted tree species. Most importantly children of the grade 9th and 10th (14 and 15 years old) from the primary schoolswereparticipated in the plantation and it keeps children occupied during the long summer vacation with opportunity of earning pocket money, while working on theenvironment (Sigurðsson, 2001).

According to the review undertaken by Sigurðsson (2001)after 50 years of work, it was revealed that some 500 ha were planted, mainly conifers species, 30 km of foot-path laid and some 45 picnic sports and rest areas were establishedas well as 20 km road constructed around the park. Following the success of Heiðmörk, the city authorities financed the planting of some 1000 ha within the city boundaries by RFS (Sigtryggsson, 1986)

A summary of green space management in Heiðmörk in Reykjavík

Table 2: A summary of green space management in Heiðmörk in Reykjavík

 

6. COMPARISON BETWEEN THE TWO CASE STUDIES

The analysis of the two cases suggests that various constellations of governance practices and diverse actors for urban green space management are in operation. Urban and peri-urban forestry (UPF) is a multi-discipline approach to the planning and management of urban trees and woodlands, so the practical management of the urban forest requires the input of a wide range of relevant professionals.

Comparison between the two case studies

Table 3: Comparison between the two case studies

 

These two case studies explore some major similarities in management. Both cases comprise a wider range of stakeholder participation, joint financing and young people involvement. However, there are some major differences in the governance system.

CampiBisenzio is public green space management network led by the government which tries to ensure the range of public participation such as municipality, Department of environment, Department of information, ARCI, young and elderly people. Local knowledge and wisdom of the elderly people are highly valued, respected and used in the practical management in the green spaces. Their involvement eases the management of the network. Financial arrangement is mainly done by government authorities – Departmentof Environment and Department of Information.

Heiðmörk, on the other hand, is the local partnership approach to the management of green spaces as recreational woodland. This is a NGO led governance system where RFS was commissioned to manage the area, providing plants, fertilizers, and supervision at the cost of the city authorities. Private societies and business entrepreneurs were provided small parcel of land for their use and better management. The major funding in this approach is from local businesses, private individuals as well as from the city authority.

A similar management and governance practice can also be viewed in the ‘Allotment garden’ where a plot of land is made available for individual, non-commercial gardening or growing food plants. Such plots are formed by subdividing a piece of land into a few or up to several hundreds of land parcels that are assigned to individuals or families. Such parcels are cultivated individually, contrary to other community garden types where the entire area is tended collectively by a group of people (MacNair, 2002). The individual gardeners are usually organized in an allotment association, which leases or is granted the land from an owner who may be a public, private or ecclesiastical entity, and who usually stipulates that it be only used for gardening (i.e. growing vegetables, fruits and flowers), but not for permanent residential purposes (this is usually also required by zoning laws). The gardeners have to pay a small membership fee to the association, and have to abide by the corresponding constitution and by-laws. However, the membership entitles them to certain democratic rights (Drescher, 2001;Drescher et al., 2006).

7. CONCLUSION

Urban forestry is a multi-level, multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary field. As the two cases reveal, all levels of governance can impact on urban forest from national to local scales (e.g. Schmied&Pillmann, 2003; Van Herzeleet al., 2005). In each scale, a wider range of governance actors, not merely the government, play a crucial role in shaping outcomes in urban forestry.

The analysis of three elements – organizations, institutions and knowledge – in the two cases considered here suggests that wider participation of actors incorporating citizens’ ideas and experiences in decisions making in the management of urban green space seems more effective and sustainable. In this regard, actors include not only government bodies, rather constellations of government and non-government actors including NGOs,professionals, and young and elderly people. For instance, growing number of young people as volunteer in green space management network (e.g. CampiBisenzio, Italy) and policy for involvement ofmore a young people giving opportunities to work with environment has played vital role in urban forest/tree spaces management (e.g. working opportunity to school children by vinnuskóli,Heiðmörk Iceland).

In developing urban tree and green space management (UTGS) policies, plans or strategies, municipalities have to ensure the involvement of multiple stakeholders. This is essential to improving the quality of decision-making and awareness-raising of UTGS activities (Lawrence et al., 2011). There also happens to be a degree of positive correlation between the level of stakeholder participation and the outcomes of urban greening (Baycant-Levent and Nijkamp, 2009).

8. REFERENCES

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Benedikz T, Sharphéðinsdóttir R (1999) Iceland. In: Forrest M, Konijnendijk CC, Randrup TB (eds) COSTA Action E12- Research and development in urban forestry in Europe. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxemburg, pp 166-177.

Biermann, F., Bestill, M. M., Gupta, J., Kanie, N., Liverman, D., Schroeder, H., Siebenhuner, B., Conca, K., da Costa, F. L., Desai, B., Tay, S. and Zondervan, R. (2009) Earth system governance:People, places and the planet. Science and implementation plan of the earth system governance project.

Bulkeley, H. and Betsill M. (2005) Rethinkingsustainable cities: multilevel governance and the ‘urban’ politics of climate change. Environmental Politics, 14 (2005), pp. 42–63.

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Drescher, A.W., (2001) “The German Allotment Gardens — a Model for Poverty Alleviation and Food Security in Southern African Cities?”Proceedings of the Sub-Regional Expert Meeting on Urban Horticulture, Stellenbosch, South Africa, January 15–19, 2001, FAO/University of Stellenbosch, 2001.

Drescher, A.W., Holmer, R.J. and D.L. Iaquinta(2006) “Urban Homegardens and Allotment Gardens for Sustainable Livelihoods: Management Strategies and Institutional Environments”. In: Kumar, B.M. and Nair, P.K. (Eds) 2006. Tropical Homegardens: A Time-Tested Example of Agroforestry. Series: Advances in Agroforestry 3, Springer, New York.

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Photossource
http://www.iceland.de/index.php?id=5486
https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/190/496670871_00d89bc2cc_z.jpg?zz=1

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