Through a local governance lens: divergent and convergent perspectives of effective urban greenspace provision
Internationally, scholars and activists frequently call for more greenspace. Recent research has identified a range of factors that contribute to, or inhibit urban greenspace provision. While municipal government is most often at the heart of local urban greenspace provision, delivery depends upon internal as well as external factors which can act as disruptors. In fast growing cities, these factors can be amplified by the pace of growth, a phenomenon not isolated in Australasian cities.
Drawing upon two case studies, this paper examines which factors most affect urban greenspace in two fast growing cities of Australia and Canada, exploring how they manifest locally. Several questions are addressed: (1) is the current approach to greenspace provision in such cities effective, (2) how can we tell, and (3) what are the factors that influence urban greenspace provision in non-capital cities? Analysis reveals an increasing tension for local government between clinging to traditional planning standards for open space provision in the face of escalating expectations from business and residents alike. A dilemma for municipal greenspace planners globally is how to close the gap between the limited resources available, affordability and sustainability, and the increasing demands for urban greenspace to deliver social, environmental and economic outcomes and benefits. This paper offers insights using features of a grounded theory approach to help inform future urban policy and research directions for urban greenspace planning approaches.