Advancing urban green infrastructure through GIS

Authors: Rina Ghose*, Department of Geography
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Urban Geography, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: Open GIS, Urban Agriculture, PPGIS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Bonaparte, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


To address environmental sustainability, cities are increasingly sites of urban green infrastructure activities, undertaken by environmental activists, citizen groups and local state agencies. Through Urban Agriculture (UA), citizens are significantly reshaping the city, by transforming the “blighted inner-city” vacant lots into productive green space. UA also addresses food justice, water management and environmental conservation goals. We have conducted seven years of research on UA, and in this paper, we examine the ways that geospatial technologies are used in the UA activities. Through community engaged research with environmental grassroots group, we demonstrate the ways that the geoweb, spatial modeling, qualitative GIS and open GIS based projects are successfully enhancing green infrastructure development activities. We also highlight our recent project (2015-2017), where we created a Community Information Systems for an environmental grassroots organization, using open GIS. Given that the cost of GIS software/hardware is a major barrier for grassroots organizations, we opted to use open GIS packages in a laptop to show a cost effective strategy. We then worked closely with the organization to assist with their data collection (using smart phone apps) and spatial analysis. We also closely observed the ways the organization used spatial knowledge to advance its green infrastructure activities. Findings indicate: (a) once the barrier of cost was erased, the organization embraced the use of visualization, mapping and spatial analysis, (b) spatial knowledge greatly facilitated their organizational activities (c) other organizations, stakeholders and policy makers are now embracing spatial knowledge in green infrastructure activities.

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