Nordic Urban Green Space Survey

Last changed: 21 August 2020

Thomas Randrup, Jessica Svännel, Anna Sunding

Duration: 2020

Founding partner: The Nordic Council of Ministers

The Nordic Council of Ministers has appointed a working group for Nordic Sustainable Cities 2019-2022 (Hållbara städer). The working group is coordinated by Boverket (SE), and has as its vision to create a model for the world’s most attractive cities, by the use of urban green spaces. As a part of this, Boverket has commissioned the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) to study and document urban green space management practices across the five Nordic countries. This study therefore examines how municipal green space managers from larger cities in the five Nordic countries currently perceive the prerequisites for their work, the urban green areas and what challenges they see as the most prominent in the future.

The study was conducted using a case study approach, via interviews with three green space managers from each of the five Nordic countries. The studied Nordic cities in general experience the effects of densification as a result of increased building activity in inner city areas. This is often resulting in higher pressure on existing green spaces, but also generating new ones, which tend to be small and fragmented, not meeting the many wishes and demands asked for by the diverse user groups. While budgets are sufficiently allocated in new development projects, it is a challenge to withstand the maintenance budgets, forcing managers to prioritise. Due to primary political interest in inner city areas, there is a risk of managers not prioritising the more peripheral areas, from where resources are often transferred to the newly developed areas. This creates a new type of urban aesthetics, primarily in the urban peripheral areas, with increased amounts of biodiversity and higher amounts of multi-functionality, compared to the smaller and more heavily programmed inner-city areas.

Urban green space managers are relying on the existing municipal planning tools, and to varying degrees act strategically in terms of developing own sector oriented plans and strategies, of which those being politically adapted are seen as the most powerful.

Read more: NordicUrbanGreenSpaceSurvey_160620.pdf


Thomas Randrup, Professor
Department of Landscape Architecture, Governance and Management
Phone: 072 547 0508