Innovation Pathways for Urban Forests

Urban forest is an emerging concept which not only incorporates trees, but other vegetation in streets, parks, plazas, river embankments, wetlands, railway corridors, community gardens, and on buildings as well as the soil and water that supports them. Urban forests have been around for generations, but only recently, in light of population growth, densification and climate extremes, have they become valued for more than aesthetics and recreation. The five nature-based solutions highlighted here show that benefits of urban forests span environmental, economic, cultural and political domains, and are increasingly recognised as an argument to persuade and engage local actors to work with and expand urban vegetation. The nature-based solutions also show that the legal status and ownership of green spaces define their future. Creating resilient and sustainable urban landscapes that provide healthy and enjoyable places for people to live and work requires rethinking the role of green infrastructure. Nature-based solutions must include strong visions and strategic target-oriented planning, coupled with new governing modes and partnerships, often reallocating and sharing responsibilities with private actors.