A Methodology for Assessing the Implementation Potential for retrofitted and Multifunctional Urban Green Infrastructure in Public Areas of the Global South

Open Access Publication in Sustainability – MDPI (2020). Authors: Tanja Fluhrer, Fernando Chapa and Jochen Hack


This publication presents an approach to address both spatial conditions and limitations required for planning green infrastructure. The study is based on the field experience gained in Costa Rica and focuses on the assessment of the implementation potential of retrofitted and multifunctional elements in public areas.

Urban green infrastructure (UGI) provides multiple functions that combine ecological and social benefits. UGI is being increasingly promoted and implemented in the Global North. In other parts of the world, such as in the Global South, infrastructures for UGI implementation and promotion are sparse. The state of infrastructure development and informal settlements in the Global South present different constraints and demands that should be explicitly addressed. This study presents an approach to addressing the specific conditions and physical limitations of UGI development in urban areas of the Global South. A four-step methodology was developed to assess the implementation potential for retrofitted and multifunctional urban green infrastructure in public areas. This methodology consists of (1) an initial site analysis, (2) defining design criteria and general strategies, (3) exploring the different dimensions of multifunctionality as the basis for deriving spatial typologies, and (4) assessing spatial suitability for potential placements for UGI elements. The methodology was applied to a study area in the metropolitan region of San José, Costa Rica. The results indicate the potential to improve the hydrological (up to 34% of surface runoff reduction), ecological (an increase of green space by 2.2%, creation of 1500 m length of roadside greenery and two new habitat types), and social conditions (2200 m of road type upgrading) of the site through UGIs. This assessment of different multifunctionality dimensions can serve as a guide for future UGI promotion and implementation in urban areas of the Global South.

Link to publication: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/1/384