Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

Methodological Barriers in Systemic Planning of Urban Green Networks in Serbia

Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

Methodological Barriers in Systemic Planning of Urban Green Networks in Serbia

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

One of the main goals of spatial and urban planning is environmental protection, through preservation and improvement of the natural capacities in urban settlements. In this context, management and planning of UGN has an important role. In recent decades, Serbian cities had difficulties to reposition themselves during the transition and find sustainable developmental alternative to urban models imposed by the market-oriented development. During this period, problems related to ecology and sustainable development, have remained neglected in comparison to economic and political issues (Guduric 2011). The consequence of this approach is the critical implementation of urban plans, in terms of negative treatment of the natural environment in urban centers, through disappearance of public and green spaces, and consequently reduction of quality of living environment. The fact that underpins such trend is the lack of understanding of the benefits of urban greenery. But, despite the common question among decision makers, as Heidt and Neef (2008) point out, how we can quantify the benefits of urban greenery, there are numbers of studies that prove the contribution of UGN to the quality of life and ecosystem services in cities, or the negative efects of UGN inadequate treatment.

The replacement of green areas have negative effects on the ambient environment, at first place with the reduction of evapotranspiration, and increased heat accumulation (Goward 1981, Wilson et al. 2003). The greater share of artificial impervious surfaces over the natural land cover in urbanized environment is considered as the main cause of urban heat island (UHI) effect (Onishia et. al. 2010). As Oke (1987) comments, UHI is the best documented example of human climate modification. Increased ambient temperature have multiply negative consequences on local environment and human health. Investigating relation between 'heat islands' and 'death islands' Buechley et al. (1972) found that mortality rate increases with rise of temperature. In some extreme cases mortality can increase up to eight time caused by heat wave (Chen et al. 2013). For example, it is estimated that the heat waves in Europe in 2003, took nearly 35,000 victims, mostly in urban areas (Larsen 2003). Land cover changes influence not only a heat balance, but also have a negative effects on the landscape aesthetics, energy efficiency, human health and quality of life (McPherson et al. 1997, Yue et al. 2007). For instance, the increased local ambient temperature is closely related to the peak electricity usage, due to increased demand for electricity for air-conditioning. With rise in temperature, electricity generation rises, where, besides the greater economic costs that consequentely occur, the emission of various greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming and climate change (Heidt and Neef 2008), occure as well.

Urban vegetation has profound effect on temperature balans in urban settings. Many studies refers to what Luber and McGeehin (2008) call "cool cities" concept or urban greening as a strategy to mitigate the consequences of higher temperatures, and thus reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Bowler et al. 2010, Givoni et al. 1991). While documented air temperature differences between areas of tree cover and nearby urban surroundings is about 2-4 [degrees]C (Jauregui 1990, Spronken-Smith and Oke 1998), surface temperature difference in the same area can go over 15[degrees] (Chen et al. 2013). Furthermore, solar radiation in the trees' shade can be lower for 10% (Givoni et al. 2003). Also vegetation and trees can lower annual cooling and heating expenses. Study shows that energy savings in heating and cooling ranges from 20-30% (Ting 2012, Gago et al. 2013, McPherson et al. 1999). On the other side, urban greenery have substantial effect on human health and well being in cities. The exposure to green view or access to green space is indirect remedy for psychological disorders, and may help in promoting emotional recovery, reducing cognitive fatigue, anxiety, buffering the impact of stress on urban residents (Agyemang et. …

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