Green space is a fundamental concept for understanding modern and contemporary urban society, shedding light not only on the ecological development of cities but also societal relations, urban governance and planning processes.
Closely linked to issues of environmental change, changing perceptions of nature, urban well-being and social integration, as well as city economic competitiveness and branding, it is an important element both in the internationalisation of European cities, and the forging of their distinctive communal identities.
Building upon recent research on the history of green landscapes in the city in Europe and North America, this volume mirrors the burgeoning global attention to urban green space developments from city policy-makers and planners, architects, climatologists, ecologists, geographers and other social scientists.
Taking case studies from Paris, London, Berlin, Helsinki, and other leading centres, the volume examines when, why, and how green landscapes evolved in major cities, and the extent to which they have been shaped by shared external forces as well as by distinctive and specific local needs.
Quantifying green space trends in this way raises important issues of classification and categorisation of the different varieties of urban green space.
While urban parks have received considerable coverage, many other smaller, less prestigious, spaces have been largely ignored.
This volume argues that green landscapes can only be properly understood when the full range of spaces from parks to recreation grounds, housing areas, allotments and domestic gardens is taken into account.
Adopting a broader approach to urban green space helps put European developments during the 19th and 20th centuries into a global perspective.