Urban nature and ways of preserving, protecting, using, designing and restoring nature are some of the most important research themes in natural science and humanities around the globe. Rapid urbanisation since the mid-twentieth century has precipitated challenges associated with degraded natural biomes, decreasing urban green spaces and reduced human contact with nature. The challenge of maintaining or restoring diminishing urban nature has increased the interest in urban and peri-urban landscapes and various disciplines seek opportunities for creating a more sustainable urban environment. This paper will highlight some of the many visions for urban nature, concepts that are intended to mitigate the tension between urbanisation, industrialised society and the protection of urban nature. The scope and the interpretation of urban nature is also influenced by specific disciplines (ecology, geography, conservation biology or social sciences) and research that links theory and practice (e.g., urban design and planning, landscape architecture, etc.) when dealing with nature design and conservation.
In general, urban nature is associated with urban greenery (plants) and non-human animals . Geographers, urban designers and urban planners mostly apply the term “urban nature” in a broad sense that includes a wide range of urban green spaces/habitats for different species, for example, urban parks, gardens, forests, wetlands and abandoned industrial lands . For urban planning and policy, a broad approach to “one” urban nature works well since it is applied mostly with reference to open space, large scale urban green infrastructure, master planning and urban greening. However, the complexity of urban nature and its many facets is also recognised by spatial planning policy and practice which must integrate the ecological dimension and, at the same time, address current societal challenges such as climate change, disaster risk reduction, human health, etc. [3,4,5]. Geographers, urban planners and designers, as well as environmental/sustainability scientists, employ the concept of nature-based solutions (NBS) as a practical tool for transferring cities into nature-positive places by bringing nature to cities and people closer to nature.
Urban nature, green infrastructure and NBS are three intertwined concepts that share similar terminology and visions (Figure …
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