Exploring the structure and functioning of urban green- and blue spaces

The increasing demand for land due to urbanisation often takes place at the expense of urban green areas, such as parks. These threatened greenspaces, especially their soils, likely have reduced capacities to provide important functions or ecosystem services (ES), such as the cleaning of water and the purification of contaminants. The main objective of our research programme is to explore the effects of heavy land use on urban greenspaces and their ability to provide life-supporting ES. In particular, we assess the role of urban vegetation/trees and soils in purifying air and urban runoff water, as well as their ability to store carbon and nutrients in the system. An important aim is bringing ecological theory that has hitherto been the domain of natural/agricultural systems to urban milieus.