Integrating Green Infrastructure Strategies for Cities in the Tropics

Parks and green spaces can help improve ecosystem resilience. All images & graphics: Ms. Natcha; Ms Liew Y.Y.

By LAr Ts Dr Roziya Ibrahim

Cities worldwide are increasingly looking at ways to increase the provision of parks and green spaces to improve ecosystem resilience and conserve natural resources that would enhance ecological performance to adapt to environmental challenges and withstand climate change impacts. 

Tropical cities have shown great interest in more sustainable efforts to integrate these urban green spaces (UGS) as part of a larger city’s Green Infrastructure (GI). 

GI is defined as “a network of multifunctional green space, both new and existing, both rural and urban, which supports the natural and ecological processes and is integral to the health and quality of life of sustainable communities” (Neal, 2011). It covers “green corridors, waterways, street trees and open countryside…comprises all environmental resources” (Davies et al., 2015). The current definition suggests that GI is a “strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas, including green and blue spaces and other ecosystems, designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services at various scales” (Monteiro et al., 2020). In a nutshell, GI involves the strategic planning of integrated natural and managed green spaces and blue corridors within and across regions to perform specific functions for providing ecosystem services; multiple environmental and social benefits for people.

GI could serve as a tool to be integrated into urban planning to achieve long-term sustainable urban development goals.

RAPID urban development and population growth in cities have increased demand for homes and infrastructure, causing a decline in urban green spaces. This has significantly impacted the urban environment as design and construction activities contribute significantly to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. 

Senior Lecturer and Program Coordinator,
Master of Landscape Architecture, Department of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Design and Architecture, Universiti Pura Malaysia (UPM)
Her research interests focus on sustainable landscape management of urban parks and green spaces through an environmentally sustainable approach to enhance ecological functions as part of the city’s green infrastructure for adapting and mitigating environmental challenges beyond primarily focusing on leisure and recreation. Working in academia sparks her interest in community-engaged learning, promoting the university for society and public participation with the local agencies instilling sustainable practices to conserve the environment through landscape architecture studio projects and programmes. She is a member of the Malaysia Board of Technologists (MBOT) and a Corporate Member of the Institute of Landscape Architects Malaysia (ILAM) previously served as Assistant Honorary Treasurer for four years. She received a Bachelor in Landscape Architecture and Master of Science (Landscape Studies) from UPM and obtained her PhD (Landscape) from the University of Sheffield in United Kingdom under the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) Scholarship.

This is an excerpt. The original article is published in Construction+ Q3 2022 Issue: Urban Development.
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