Developing a Pattern for Intervention in Urban Green Infrastructures to Reach Urban Ecological Resilience to Climate Change (Case study: Yousef Abad Neighborhood in Tehran)

Document Type : Research Paper


School of Architecture and Environmental Design, Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran.


Cities should be resistant to a wide range of shocks and pressures, including climate change (Leichenko, 2011).Therefore scholars and planners try to reduce the damages of natural disasters based on different approaches and patterns through the development of appropriate plans. One of these approaches is to investigate the resilience to natural disasters. Today, most natural disasters occur due to climate change. Climate change is a globally widespread phenomenon that is happening in the whole planet (Childers, 2015) and has created serious problems for humans and the environment. Resilience is a new concept that is mostly used when facing the unknowns and uncertainties such as climate change (Adhern, 2011). Resilience means that the urban system is able to withstand severe natural disasters without suffering from casualties, damages or loss of production capacity or quality of life (IPCC, 2007)). The resilience regarding the climate change reduction and adaptation is addressed in this study.
Among the resilience types, what is considered in this research is the climate resilience that is a subcategory of urban ecological resilience. The climate resilience is the urban resilience to climate change (Carter et al., 2015). In this respect, the review of existing literature shows that few studies so far have addressed the concept of climate resilience, and most studies in the world and Iran, have only focused on the urban resilience and its assessment on the urban and regional scale. A very limited number of studies have addressed the resilience to climate change on other scales, especially the neighborhood scale.
As a building block of cities, neighborhood is of great importance, and a resilient city can be achieved by a resilient neighborhood. On the other hand, one of the important factors influencing the climate resilience is urban infrastructure, especially green infrastructure. However, the main question and objective of this research is how to achieve a methodology or principles to examine the current situation of the infrastructure in cities to improve and ensure the climate resilience in the neighborhood by improving such situations.
To answer the questions of this research, by selecting a case study and the GIS software to collect data about the status of vegetation and green infrastructure and to analyze the data based on the characteristics of green infrastructure’s resilience potentials and by providing the base and analytical maps, it was attempted to propose and develop a method for interfering with the quantity, quality and location of green infrastructure to increase climate resilience.
Research Question:
The main question here is: How are UGI and Climate resilience connected in cities? With which method or pattern can urban planners intervene urban green infrastructures in order to increase climate resilience in neighborhoods? And what are the effective urban green infrastructures resilience potentials? The main purpose here is to find a method to intervene UGI’s quality and quantity to increase climate resilience in neighborhoods. Also to find climate change adaptation strategies based on UGI and their effect on the city’s climate resilience in order to maintain, create and increase climate resilience.
Research Goals:
The general purpose of this research is to, extract principles of intervention or to find strategies for adaptation to climate change using green infrastructure (quality, quantity, their location, way of design and so on) and their impact on urban climate resilience and promoting climate resilience through the green infrastructure in city and neighborhood scale by enhancing the existing UGI and also by introducing climate resilience UGI and climate resilient green species for new urban projects.
Climate resilience in neighborhood scale
Climate resilience includes the capacity of an independent unit or a group or organization to respond to climate change in a dynamic and effective manner, while still continuing to daily activities in an acceptable level. This feature includes the resistance to change, recovery after the shock, and reorganization to prevent the destruction of the system, that is the city (Dayland and Brown, 2012). In general, "climate resilience" is the urban resilience to climate change. Various literature has classified the climate resilience as a subcategory of urban ecological resilience.
The studies conducted by Miller et al. (2009) emphasized the importance of urban infrastructure as an effective factor in creating climate resilience. However, the importance of green urban infrastructure is also considered, which is further discussed in the following.
The climate resilience on the neighborhood scale includes the ability of the neighborhood in the physical-infrastructural, social, political and economic systems and the resistance and efficiency of settlements and buildings to tolerate the hazards of climate change to quickly return to the previous situation under these tensions and pressures, and to embrace and confront future threats. One of the greatest impacts of climate change can be found in cities, and especially in neighborhoods. As one of the most important urban segments, neighborhoods are no exception to these adverse effects. As a result, it is necessary to provide solutions on neighborhood scale for dealing with the climate change (Sasanpour et al., 2015).
Urban green infrastructure in neighborhood
Urban green infrastructure is a type of ecological social system that results from the interactions of various elements, especially humans. The components of green urban infrastructure can be considered a combination of open and closed spaces and a mixture of natural plant habitats, which are of great ecologic, social and economic significance. As a result, the proper design in these spaces can have a profound effect on the everyday life, and the resilient design is considered one of the most appropriate principles for the design of such spaces (Oliver, 2014). In general, green infrastructure includes green roofs, permeable green surfaces, green paths and streets, urban forests, public parks, neighborhood gardens, and urban wetlands (Demuzere et al., 2014).
Iran is one of many countries that has been hit by climate change negative effects in the recent years. The main climate challenges that many big cities in Iran are facing are drought, air pollution, low annual precipitation, increasing temperature especially in summer, decreasing water resources quality, water shortage and so on.
Based on these challenges the city of Tehran was selected as one of the big cities in Iran with the most climate challenges. The main climate challenges that Tehran is facing are, air pollution, water resources contamination and shortages, drought and extreme heat in summers.
To find answers to the research’s main question, to reach the research goals and also to put to the test, the UGI climate mitigation strategies that were extracted from the literature review, ‘Yousef Abad’ neighborhood in Tehran was selected as the case study.
The method used here was, studying various library and Internet sources, books for reviewing the existing literature. After this step, GIS, field studies and aerial photography, will be used as the main tool for developing different base and analytical maps such as: existing urban green and grey infrastructure maps, thermal maps of the selected neighborhood, building height and street width and direction maps, green species maps with the focus on their health and location. Also maps of existing patch, corridor and matrix will be developed and analyzed to measure climate resilience based on landscape ecology theories.
After doing the above mentioned analysis, this research was able to achieve an extensible methodology to increase climate resilience through urban green infrastructure in the cities of Iran in the neighborhood scale to guarantee climate resiliency in the city scale.
Also, by using landscape ecology language (Patch, corridor, matrix) as a method to interpret the existing eco-resilience conditions of green infrastructures, a method was introduced and also by using this method, the ecological characteristics of specific plants were analyzed and plants with better resilience potentials to drought, heat and air pollution were suggested for the study area. This was important characteristics of green infrastructures were introduced as factors for future analysis of ‘urban climate resilience’ in cities.