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Green & Blue Infrastructures

The concept of Green Infrastructures (GI) is not new but results from a continuing evolution and research. This area, on the frontier between art and science, influences both landscape and planning, and design trends.

During the last 4 decades the Nature Conservation policy, particularly in EU, followed a model composed by core areas linked by green corridors, sometimes protected with buffers. A major leap forward did take place when the GI concept emerged from EEA (2011); also the Biodiversity Strategy gives emphasis to the Development of a GI Strategy aiming to halt the loss of biodiversity and the recovery of degraded ecosystems (EC/CIRCABC,2012). The GI concept matches the Portuguese Ecological Network (EN), introduced in the legislation in 1999. The EN aims to integrate all legal features related with all environmental factors which were dispersed in different legislation. The EN, unlike the European biological concept aiming at biodiversity protection by itself, includes the necessary areas to keep the functioning of both physical and biological systems. The EC definition of GI provides an idea of the concept: "a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services".

During the last decade GBI team delimited several EN at local, regional and national scales. These EN correspond entirely to the GI concept, since used methodology was based on ecological criteria through a multi-level evaluation, considering two main systems: • physical, relating geology/lithology, soil, water and climate components, and their interactions; • biological, composed by habitat, flora and vegetation, and their interactions with physical components.

The EN is the first step of a methodology used to make landscape/land use plans at local and municipal scales, assigning to EN functions such as agriculture, pastures and forest production, leisure, nature conservation, cultural heritage protection and soft mobility, besides all embedded immaterial functions and other physical ones, such as bioclimatic comfort.

This TL aims to develop the previously work by creating specific GBI, from planning and design to implementation and management recommendations, including public policies. This implies the selection of case studies with specific and differentiated problems to be solved and the involvement of several stakeholders, both public and private. As an example of problems with great impact in Portuguese society are rural fires, management of rural areas with small property and owners often absent, prevention and reduction of risks of flood and drought, agro-food planning and reduction of heat island, improving biodiversity and soft mobility in cities and towns. This TL joints a multidisciplinary team, including landscape architects, agronomists, phyto-sociologists and other earth scientists coming from LEAF as well as from other institutions.

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Manuela Raposo Magalhães

Thematic Line Coordinator

Manuela Raposo Magalhães

Landscape Architect Assistant Professor