Multidimensional Evaluation of Urban Green Spaces : A Comparative Study on European Cities
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Urban green spaces play an important role in improving quality of life and sustainability in cities and require a careful empirical assessment. Several factors such as social, economic, ecological or planning aspects, and several functions such as utilization, production, employment, education, regulation and preservation of urban green spaces form the basis for the determination of the criteria and indicators relevant for the assessment of urban green spaces. This multi-faceted ramification of urban green spaces needs therefore, a multidimensional evaluation approach in an urban policy context. The aim of this paper is to investigate the complex and heterogeneous structure of urban green spaces from a multi-faceted assessment perspective. The paper examines urban green spaces from the viewpoint of quantity and availability of urban green spaces, changes in green spaces, planning of urban green spaces, financing of urban green spaces and level of performance, on the basis of a comparison of 24 European cities by deploying a multi-criteria analysis for mixed quantitative and qualitative information, coined Regime Analysis. It aims to highlight the present situation and priorities in decision-making and to compare the green performance of European cities in the process of urban green planning and management. A comparison of urban green spaces in European cities by means of multi-criteria analysis brings to light the critical elements in the present situation and sets out choice directions based on priorities in decision-making and policy evaluation. This evaluation of several experiences in different regions and countries provides a fascinating European picture in terms of urban green planning and management.