The creation and maintenance of green spaces is considered increasingly important in the face of urbanisation and climate change - but is not enough to just maintain our green spaces.
Green spaces consist of dynamic systems that need to be managed to ensure that their quality is maintained and that they survive in the long-term. If green spaces are only maintained, they will gradually degenerate.
Whilst politicians might acknowledge the benefits and services provided by high-quality green spaces, the attention given to quality green space does not correlate with the actual resources made available for managing them. In practice, there are many challenges to the processes through which quality green spaces are enhanced, maintained and managed over the long term.
To address these issues, Fongar first characterised the ways in which Norwegian green spaces are managed. She then explored the relationship between the users’ perceptions of the quality of green spaces in Norway, and their motivations for using green spaces.
Fongar’s findings revealed that strategies for maintaining and managing green spaces would benefit by being open for decision-making at the operational level. The possibility to engage at this level relates in part to the organisational structure of each municipality, and is dependent on a strong ‘green spaces’ unit.
The importance of the green space manager within municipalities to the strengthening of green space management was repeatedly highlighted in Fongar’s research. The overall political aims and tactical performance of green space management units seem to depend upon individuals within the municipalities.
Claudia Fongar will defend her thesis ‘Public green space management arrangements in Norway: Perspectives on quality green space’ on 5 October 2020. See the event webpage for details.