A tale of two green cities. Exploring the role of visions in the development of green infrastructure in two European Green Capital Cities

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There is a pressing need for cities to incorporate more green space into their urban matrices. The development of green infrastructure has been heralded as somewhat of a panacea to the numerous social, environmental and economic sustainability challenges facing cities. Despite this recognition, there is no universal strategy guiding the implementation of green infrastructure. As a planning concept, green infrastructure is often implemented by cities in line with a certain vision, and a set of pre – determined desired outcomes. However, the content of these visions, and how they are realised, varies greatly between cities, based on the characteristic geographic and socio – economic contextual factors. Moreover, the visions developed by European cities guiding green infrastructure are likely influenced by those of the European Union (EU) which are embodied in various directives, strategies and targets. This project aims to investigate the role of visions in the development of green infrastructure, and explore the interactions between contextual factors and EU governance herein. Two European Green Capital Winning cities, Nijmegen and Essen, were selected as examples of best practice, with a hope that other cities can learn from them. Both cities approach the concept of visions in different ways. While the development history of both cities was instrumental to the creation of a vision, the role of the EU varied greatly between the two cities. Finally, suggestions as to how other cities can learn from this project are presented.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen