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The democracy of Green Infrastructure

Caputo, S and Donoso, V. and Izaga, F. and Britto, P. (2019) The democracy of Green Infrastructure. In: Lemes de Oliveira, Fabiano and Mell, Ian, eds. Planning Cities with Nature: Theories, Strategies and Methods. Cities and Nature . Springer, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 137-152. ISBN 978-3-030-01865-8. (doi:10.1007/978-3-030-01866-5) (KAR id:73510)


With the understanding of nature in terms of ecosystem services and the recognition of the vital role these play for human wellbeing (Millennium Assessment, 2005), the value of the natural realm is scientifically and socially defined while at the same time institutionalised. Within this frame of interpretation, nature is a supplier of provision-ing, regulating, supporting welfare and cultural services, thus becoming not only a life-enabling factor for humanity but also a conceptual construct comparable to cornerstones of democracy, such as equality, freedom and citizenship. The idea of green infrastructure is another recently coined term envisioning nature in cities in the form of a net-work and enabling a broad life-furthering vision of society. Standards for green open spaces embedded in some planning frameworks further state the right for all to a common good. Yet, evidence shows that this common right is not always met. Within the current context of advanced and neoliberal capitalism, green areas are sometimes used as an added financial value for real estate, thus increasing restrictions to their free access and full utilization. In developing countries with young democracies, such as Brazil, this process implies another significant factor of social inequality insofar the restricted access to nature by the poorest people means also diminished food safety, and the jeopardizing of certain cultural practices. In developed countries, loss of land for food production and movements reclaiming the right to the city by squatting unoccupied open spaces to initiate community gar-dens, demonstrates that the access to green spaces is also problematic, although in different ways if compared to developing countries. This chapter contributes to this topic by discussing the inequality in provision of green spaces in informal settlements and social housing development in Brazil, as well as in the globalised north. The chapter concludes with recommendations to enhance democracy through a just provision of nature in cities.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/978-3-030-01866-5
Subjects: N Visual Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Depositing User: Silvio Caputo
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2019 14:16 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 06:30 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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