After All, What Is GI?

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Green Infrastructure is discussed to mean different things in alternative geographical, ecological and socio-economic contexts. However, the growing literature focussing on what Green Infrastructure is, what it does and how it should be delivered provides a baseline set of principles that help to situate the concept in academic and practice-based debates. The promotion of connected landscapes that are multi-functional that provide access to nature at the local, city and regional scale is central to Green Infrastructure thinking. Moreover, the need to integrate socio-economic and ecological perspectives into political decision-making has been repeatedly outlined as a key variable to successful policy creation and subsequent implementation. It is also important to align current Green Infrastructure thinking with the historical antecedents of greenspace planning to examine where complementarities can be identified between the past and the present. Overall, this introductory chapter sets out the principles and history of Green Infrastructure planning illustrating the nexus of people, policy and practice that permeates through the following chapters. It also outlines the broader parameters of the debates to come and grounds them in accepted principles of existing Green Infrastructure thinking. Since the introduction of Green Infrastructure as a concept, many things have changed in how territories and city organisations use it within the context of planning. One of the remaining unresolved issues is its relationship with the landscape. To some extent, ‘landscape’ was the instrument that spatial planning used to introduce ecological elements that may otherwise have been difficult to embed within planning. When additional instruments emerged, such as Green Infrastructure, which was considered to be focussed on ecological issues, greater difficulties in implementation began. Through this paper, we will always capitalise both – ‘Green Infrastructure’ and ‘landscape’ – in order to use them as terms of reference, both to complement each other and to juxtapose them. It is understood that the expression Green Infrastructure also covers Blue Infrastructure, i.e. aquatic ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlanning with Landscape
Subtitle of host publicationGreen Infrastructure to Build Climate-Adapted Cities
EditorsCamila Gomes Sant'Anna, Ian Mell, Luciana Bongiovanni Martins Schenk
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Cham
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783031183324
ISBN (Print)9783031183317
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023

Publication series

NameLandscape Series


  • Principles
  • Connectivity
  • Multi-functionality
  • Policy
  • Scale
  • Collaboration
  • Practice


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