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Urban Green Network Design: Defining green network from an urban planning perspective

Andrea Tulisi


From the theoretical context of Smart City various studies have emerged that adopt an analytical approach and description of urban phenomena based on the principles of “network design”; this line of research uses the network systems theory to define the principles that regulate the relationships among the various elements of urban sub-systems in order to optimize their functionality. From the same theoretical basis, urban greenspaces have also been studied as networks, by means of the creation of models capable of measuring the performance of the system in its entirety, posing the basis of a new multy-disciplinary research field called green network. This paper presents the results of research aimed at clarifying the meaning of green network from an urban planning perspective through a lexical analysis applied to a textual corpus of more than 300 abstracts of research papers that have dealt with this topic over the last twenty years. The results show that the concept of green network appears still fuzzy and unclear, due to the different meaning given to the term “green” and to an incorrect use of the term “network”, often referred to as a generic set of natural areas present in a city, without any reference to the network system theory or to the basic rules linking these elements together. For this reason, the paper proposes a unique definition of green network from an urban planning perspective that takes into account the contribution of other research areas to effective green infrastructure planning. This is the concept of “urban green network design” defined as “an urban planning practice, supported by decision support tools able to model green infrastructure as network, composed by natural and semi-natural areas, whose connections are modelled according to specific variables, in order to deliver an equal distribution of public services for enhancing the quality of life as well as a wide range of ecosystem services”.


reen network; Urban greenspace; Ecosystem services; lexical analysis

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Direttore responsabile: Rocco Papa | print ISSN 1970-9889 | on line ISSN 1970-9870 | © 2008 | Registrazione: Cancelleria del Tribunale di Napoli, n° 6, 29/01/2008 | Rivista realizzata con Open Journal System e pubblicata dal Centro di Ateneo per le Biblioteche dell'Università di Napoli Federico II.