More Than Open Space! The Case for Green Infrastructure Teaching in Planning Curricula

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

More Than Open Space! The Case for Green Infrastructure Teaching in Planning Curricula

  • Andrea I. Frank School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK
  • Andrew Flynn School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, UK
  • Nick Hacking School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, UK
  • Christopher Silver College of Design, Construction and Planning, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA

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Abstract:  Since the mid-1990s, the concept of Green Infrastructure (GI) has been gaining traction in fields such as ecology and forestry, (landscape) architecture, environmental and hydrological engineering, public health as well as urban and regional planning. Definitions and aims ascribed to GI vary. Yet, agreement broadly exists on GI’s ability to contribute to sustainability by means of supporting, for example, biodiversity, human and animal health, and storm water management as well as mitigating urban heat island effects. Given an acknowledged role of planners in delivering sustainable cities and towns, professional bodies have highlighted the need for spatial planners to understand and implement GI. This raises questions of what sort of GI knowledge planners may require and moreover by whom and how GI knowledge and competencies may be conveyed? Examining knowledge and skills needs vis-à-vis GI education opportunities indicates a provision reliant primarily on continued professional education and limited ad hoc opportunities in Higher Education. The resulting knowledge base appears fragmented with limited theoretical foundations leading the authors to argue that a systematic inclusion of green infrastructure knowledges in initial planning education is needed to promote and aid effective GI implementation.

Keywords:  curricula; green infrastructure; higher education; planning profession; spatial planning

Published:   26 January 2021


© Andrea I. Frank, Andrew Flynn, Nick Hacking, Christopher Silver. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.