by Caitlin Suh
How should advocates of green infrastructure convince a population to support its implementation, particularly the planting of urban trees? In a study by researchers Jason A. Byrne et al. (2015), the relationship between residents of Hangzhou, China’s knowledge of climate change, familiarity and usage of green spaces, socio-demographic characteristics; and their attitude towards the implementation of green infrastructure are correlated. Through these findings, the researchers proposed methods through which politicians and others could advocate the building of these green infrastructures.
Green infrastructure can be defined as actions and facilities to mitigate or adapt to climate changes that intentionally modify an urban area for social and economic benefits. While green spaces are areas where people in a city leave nature to its own devices, green infrastructure, including tree planting, is strategically placed provide benefits such as more shade, lowering the temperature of urban areas and economic savings in energy use.
Hangzhou was chosen for its rapidly growing population, extremely high temperatures, and scarcity of green-spaces. This survey was meant to probe for general statements on Asians’ opinion on the implementation of green infrastructure, specifically urban tree planting based on their knowledge and experience.
Based on the results of the survey, residents were more likely to support urban trees if they were older, and if they believed that climate change would affect the economy unfavorably. There was also found to be positive relationships between residents’ number of proposed actions to mitigate the climate changes and their acknowledgment of the use of urban trees. Oddly, recreational park use generally not correlated with support for urban tree planting.
Using these results, the researchers hoped to place more focus on people’s perceived opinions on green infrastructure which, although recommended by scientists as possible mitigations, have not been put in context with residents’ acceptance of it. They also proposed benefits to learning about residents’ opinions as making campaigning for green infrastructure more efficient by concentrating on the positive impact residents can have rather than the economically deleterious effects of climate change.
Byrne, Jason A., Alex Y. Lo, and Yang Jianjun. “Residents’ Understanding of the Role of Green Infrastructure for Climate Change Adaptation in Hangzhou, China.” Landscape and Urban Planning 138 (2015): 132-43. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204615000444.