Planning for green cities in crisis and beyond: Integrating urban greening in contemporary planning strategies and practices (2)

Type: Virtual Paper
Sponsor Groups: Urban Geography Specialty Group, Regional Development and Planning Specialty Group, Landscape Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM (PDT)
Room: Virtual 38
Organizers: Meredith Whitten, Christopher Ling
Chairs: Christopher Ling


Urban green space is critical for addressing the two most urgent crises of the 21st century: climate change (Mathey et al., 2011) and public health (Kabisch et al., 2016). Buoyed by a heightened awareness of the role nature plays in addressing contemporary urban challenges, urban green space has risen up the policy and research agendas (Pincetl and Gearin, 2005; Rutt and Gulsrud, 2016; Tappert, Klöti & Drilling, 2018). While the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for access to quality urban green spaces for physical health and mental wellbeing, the adverse impacts of climate change have continued to accelerate. Thus, demand on green spaces to provide an increasing range of functions and services is intensifying.

Despite this, urban greening research is not well integrated with urban planning and design (Norton et al., 2015), and cities struggle to provide the quantity, quality and accessibility of green space needed to address human and ecological health. With limited or narrowly defined planning efforts, green spaces in an urban context often are undervalued, overlooked and precariously funded. This can lead to degradation, increased crime and antisocial behavior, missed opportunities for biodiversity, community utility and other environmental and social functionality. Meanwhile, well-integrated green space planning can create or exacerbate problems, such as an increase in the cost of living – namely, housing costs – and environmental gentrification. And, as the Covid-19 pandemic has brought into sharper focus, conventional green spaces are unevenly distributed, contributing to health inequalities, particularly among disadvantaged and minority ethnic groups.

This session will explore theoretical underpinnings and empirical evidence regarding the challenges, conflicts and tensions that arise from treating green space as a panacea for urban ills, yet not supporting it with adequate protection, funding and resources. Further, the session will examine how this affects long-standing inequities in access to green space and the benefits it provides. We welcome papers beyond a traditional planning approach, including those that analyze innovative approaches to green space planning. We encourage papers that highlight case studies, including those from an international perspective. While green space planning is relevant across scales and jurisdictions, these sessions focus on green spaces in an urban setting, thus, papers should have an urban focus.

Each session will consist of four papers (15-minute presentations) followed by a collaborative discussion session. If interested in participating, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words and your personal identification number (received from the AAG after registering online at to both organizers by October 29, 2020.

Organized by:
Dr. Meredith Whitten, London School of Economics & Political Science,
Dr. Chris Ling, Royal Roads University,


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Mauricio Estrada*, , Land, Access, and Power: Tensions around Land Ownership in Urban Community Gardens 15 3:05 PM
Presenter Olivia Lewis*, Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Evolution of green space planning in shrinking cities: case studies of Buffalo and Porto 15 3:20 PM
Presenter Meredith Whitten*, London School of Economics & Political Science, Is bigger better? The contribution of small green spaces to green space planning 15 3:35 PM
Presenter Jason K Hawes*, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan, Joshua P Newell, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan, Spatial Planning for Decentralized Infrastructure – The Case of Urban Agriculture 15 3:50 PM
Discussant Christopher Ling Royal Roads University 15 4:05 PM

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