Integrative Green Infrastructure Planning – GRIP

Project summary

The project ‘Integrative Green Infrastructure Planning (GRIP)’ aims to complement an existing collaboration on sustainable cities between City of Aarhus and City of Tshwane (Pretoria) in South Africa by adding a strong research component. In close connection with urban planners from both cities, GRIP aims to facilitate a strategic transformation of the social and urban landscape in City of Tshwane through guidelines inspired by City of Aarhus for improved planning and management of green infrastructure (such as public parks, green ways, community gardens, and conservation areas). In contrast to ‘grey’ (man-made) infrastructure approaches, ‘green’ infrastructure promotes multifunctionality, which means that the same area of land is able to perform several functions and thereby offer multiple benefits through infrastructural and ecosystem services at the same time. For instance, green infrastructure supports environmental and human health, including biodiversity habitat, flood and heat island control, and sense of place, which affects physical and psychological well-being and community identity. The research project will provide new in-depth knowledge on opportunities for multiple ecological and social benefits of green infrastructure, as well as integrate governance and justice perspectives, and develop concrete landscape design proposals to improve green infrastructure access, functioning, and socio-economic opportunities. Together with urban planners from Aarhus and Tshwane, private partners, and students, the main research partners in Denmark (Aarhus University) and in South Africa (University of Pretoria) will co-create this knowledge and strengthen research capacities through exchange of technological, ecological, sociopolitical, and planning expertise. It is the long-term objective that the GRIP research will facilitate an improved quality of life in urban communities in City of Tshwane by moving towards a more climate resilient, health promoting, biodiverse, and livable


First year report
The GRIP project is organized in four interrelated work packages (WPs) proceeding as planned:

WP1: Four stakeholder workshops have been held with private partners, researchers, and city officials from City of Tshwane (CoT) and City of Aarhus. Desk studies of policy documents and interviews with city officials from both cities have been conducted.

WP2: Database of remote sensing images, local planning maps, and secondary data to construct a GIS model for multifunctionality scoring of CoT is completed. The multifunctionality scoring is based on a valuation exercise with local private and public stakeholders to attain weights of each function. Collection of field data for on-ground multifunctionality assessment of both sites, a storm water mapping and an environmental sensitivity assessment by a local expert has been completed

WP3: A community survey with responses from 200 residents was completed, along with more than 100 semi-structured interviews. Four MSc projects are in progress, focusing on informal settlements, social access and ownership, visual human-nature relations, and native species from a gender perspective.

WP4: Three architectural design studios were held at the University of Pretoria. In total 20 design projects with green infrastructure strategies were completed into booklets and delivered to the CoT. Spatial maps for each study site are completed and a MSc study is underway, incl. 15 interviews and document review. Literature review is in progress.

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