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Spatiotemporal Dynamics in Regulating Ecosystem Services of Urban Green-blue Infrastructure

Baker, Fraser (2020) Spatiotemporal Dynamics in Regulating Ecosystem Services of Urban Green-blue Infrastructure. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

Synoptic citywide maps of green-blue infrastructure (GBI) and associated regulating ecosystem services (RES) can indicate priority locations for GBI investment to build urban resilience to future climate stressors. However, current approaches are typically static in view, and may fail to consider change in services over different temporal cycles. Planned GBI investment may not offer optimal RES solutions when considering seasonal fluctuations in climate and ecological conditions, or environmental change due to future urban development. In response, this thesis aimed to develop a range of spatiotemporal analysis methods to improve the usefulness of current RES map information. The city of Manchester, UK, is the study area, as the environmental impacts of considerable urban development, since the turn of the century, is currently poorly understood by local planning stakeholders. Overall, findings indicate that seasonal variation in RES is a limited concern for the city. Incorporation of seasonally adjusted indicators for temperature regulation and stormwater storage RES, against typical assumptions of static year-round RES functions, result in less than 5% discrepancy in identified RES deprived areas. In contrast, environmental change is more evident over an inter-year period (2000 – 2017). The city lost approximately 11% of existing GBI, although net GBI increases were recorded in a minority of areas. GBI declines were recorded for most land uses, with losses of between 5.7% and 28.3% a concern for residential land uses where residents live and consume RES. In response, scenario analysis indicates that concerted land use targeted GBI conservation (i.e. street tree and residential gardens) policies are the minimum action required to prevent significant future declines in GBI and RES. Overall, the thesis provides a multi-stage analysis workflow to investigate various GBI and RES management scenarios within the context of planned and unplanned urban development. GBI loss is a common urban trend across the globe, whilst cyclical variation in RES may prove more important for cities with greater seasonal extremes in climate conditions. The ecological modelling, map classification and change analysis methods here work with accessible research data and are therefore theoretically adaptable to a range of urban conditions. Indicators are mapped at scales (100m grid) suitable to investigate GBI retrofits of existing built infrastructure and can accommodate different data assumptions regarding proxy model parameterisation.

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