Ecosystem Services Analysis and Design through Nature-Based Solutions in Urban Planning at a Neighbourhood Scale

Semeraro, T. et al. | Urban Science | 2022 | Peer Reviewed | Original research |


The new frontiers of sustainable cities should focus on urban planning tools and strategies that are able to integrate ecosystem services in urban development. An important step could include the design of nature-based solutions (NbSs) for introducing important ecological functions aiding human well-being and mitigating the loss of soil. In this study, we propose a methodology to analyse, in a spatial way, the effect of land use scenarios generated by urban planning in the provision of ecosystem services. The methodology analyses the variation of ecosystem services, considering the ecosystem services of the study area and their potential roles in changing the functions of planned urban actions as the starting point. One scenario of analysis includes the integration of NbSs into urban planning. The case study is that of a peri-urban area, characterized by an agroecosystem, which is intended for urban development in the municipality of Gallipoli, Southern Italy. The analysis highlights a low provision of ecosystem services by the agroecosystem, which has had the effect of important olive trees being destroyed by Xylella fastidiosa bacteria. Thus, the integration of NbSs and reducing the construction of buildings in the urban neighbourhood plan could improve the quantity of ecosystem services in the area. Moreover, the ecological design of ecosystem services could improve the typology of ecosystem services provision in the area in consideration of the starting points. Therefore, the analysis of the capacity to integrate ecosystem services in urban planning at the neighbourhood scale could be a tool of ecological urban design, useful to support the decision-making processes.