Socio-Ecological Practice Research | 2021
Using green infrastructure to stimulate discourse with and for planning practice: experiences with fuzzy concepts from a pan-European, a national and a local perspective
Concepts such as green infrastructure, nature-based solutions, and ecosystem services gained popularity in recent discourses on urban planning. Despite their recognition as innovative concepts, all of them share a degree of ambiguity. Fuzziness can be a weakness but also an opportunity to shape novel concepts together with the stakeholders that are supposed to implement them in the planning practice. The paper traces concept development processes of green infrastructure through transdisciplinary knowledge exchange in three different projects, a European and a national research project and a local city-regional project as part of an EU regional cooperation project. In all projects, the green infrastructure concept evolved in different stages. Stakeholder involvement during these stages span from consultation to co-creation. The cases reveal two different approaches: concepts that are developed “for planning practice” might be based on a plethora of insight via consultation, while those “with planning practice” foster co-creation and might result in high acceptance among the involved stakeholders. Depending on the purpose of the novel concept, each approach can be beneficial and result in practice-related and operational products, such as guidance documents or planning strategies. However, the cases also show that in any new context an exchange about fuzzy concepts is not only needed but also a chance to stimulate cooperation and joint understanding about urban challenges and how to address them.