Assessing urban ecosystem services in support of spatial planning in the Hague, the Netherlands

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Submission Summary
Green infrastructure (GI) is increasingly addressed in urban planning and research to enhance urban sustainability and resilience through the provisioning of ecosystem services (ES). Yet, few applications exist of planning models for multifunctional GI in high spatial and thematic detail that simultaneously align with stakeholder interests. In our recent paper, we addressed these gaps by developing and presenting a spatially explicit model to inform urban planners on priority areas for multifunctional GI development. This model was made possible by spatial analyses on multiple scales, enabling us to assess ES in sufficient detail, while simultaneously matching the preferences for scale and ES-indicators of decision makers and urban planners. The model involves a novel weighting scheme based upon the local capacity of GI to mitigate problems. We applied our model to the city of The Hague using a set of three policy-relevant problems: air pollution, the urban heat island effect and storm water flooding. Our results show that the capacity of GI to mitigate these problems varies spatially, both within and between ES, and depends on local characteristics of GI and the environmental context. We illustrate the relevance of using a multi-scale approach in spatial ES analysis, and underline that GI planning measures should be assessed in high spatial detail due to their often locally distinct ES capacity. Our approach makes important strides towards the deployment of nature-based solutions for urban challenges in the light of demands for increasing resilience and sustainability.
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