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B.Green Handbook

The B.Green project aims to develop a model for digital and participatory urban planning that promotes the pre-planning of multifunctional green infrastructure solutions in the Baltic Sea region.
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B.Green Handbook written in white text on a bright green background
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This tool is part of the SEI Urban Toolbox for Liveable Cities which has been developed by the SEI Initiative on City Health and Wellbeing. The Urban Toolbox is a collection of tools, developed within SEI or in coordination with SEI, aimed at supporting planning and decision-making for improving the health, well-being and resilience of city residents and urban systems more broadly.


About this tool

The aim of this handbook is to guide urban planners and other stakeholders interested in promoting green infrastructure planning. It introduces digital and participatory tools as solutions that can help planners overcome some of the major challenges when planning green infrastructure. These tools are presented holistically in the context of the planning process.

How does this tool work?

The handbook is set up to provide multiple topics as entry points: climate resilience, planning challenges, digital tools, participatory methods and planning phases. There is also a section on additional resources highlighted throughout the handbook. Each section contains basic information linking the specific topic with the issue of the planning of green infrastructure in an urban context. The handbook should be thought of as a digital journey. Each handbook topic can be used as a starting point that connects to the examples, as well as to the other topics.

The key topics throughout the handbook are:

  • Green Infrastructure
  • Climate Change and Resilience
  • Challenges for Green Infrastructure Planning
  • The Collaborative Planning Process
  • Digital Tools for Planners
  • Stakeholder Participation

Who might use this tool?

This guide is designed for urban planners and other stakeholders interested in promoting green infrastructure planning.

Which stakeholders are involved?

Urban planners, any community (defined as a group with a common interest, shared knowledge or people living in a specific neighbourhood), service providers (public and private sector).

What stage of the process does this tool support?

This handbook tool can be adapted to be used at different stages of environmental assessment:

  • defining the issue
  • generating ideas
  • developing solutions
  • implementation
  • monitoring
  • evaluation

Tool overview

Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure brings nature to the city and creates many benefits for residents. The urban structure of growing and densifying cities, such as Helsinki and Tallinn, is constantly being developed for future needs. Densification as a result of population growth can increase the severity of the impacts of climate change and the extreme weather phenomena it brings, such as heavy rain and hotter summers. Cities need to be designed in new ways that keep future changes in the climate in mind. This can be done through green infrastructure.

The planning of green infrastructure guides us to prioritise ecological provision and processes.

Climate Change and Resilience

In recent decades, climate projections have highlighted continuing increases in global average temperatures. Climate change impacts will be felt throughout the world but hazards and the severity of impacts will vary between regions. The Baltic Sea region can expect an increase in the occurrence of extreme weather events such as heavy precipitation events, windstorms, extreme temperatures (particularly heatwaves) and freezing rain events in northern areas. This section includes detailed information on:

  • Impacts of climate change and cascading effects
  • Urban resilience
  • Principles of Urban Resilience
  • Resilient urban landscapes
  • Social equity and justice outcomes

Challenges for Green Infrastructure Planning

Green infrastructure is a promising approach to helping cities adapt to climate change, reduce risk and increase resilience through better urban planning and governance. These interventions seek to resolve multiple problems and have the potential to deliver positive environmental, social and economic benefits. However, delivering these benefits requires systematic, comprehensive and collaborative approaches. Successful implementation of green infrastructure interventions requires that various technical, political, financial and social challenges must be examined and addressed. This section provides in-detail information on the following topics:

  • Governance and institutional factors
  • Standards and regulatory processes
  • Finance
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Knowledge and skills
  • ​Technical integration

The Collaborative Planning Process

Collaborative planning helps to increase support for green infrastructure planning by making the co-benefits visible. This helps to increase the legitimacy of green infrastructure among various stakeholders, which contributes to the success of projects as measured by better managed and more resilient urban spaces. If implemented well, collaborative planning can be a process of co-creation andsocial innovation, and can result in improved societal well-being. For green infrastructure planning to work as a social innovation process, collaboration must be integrated into each phase. There are four phases of the collaborative planning process:

  1. Co-assessment, planning and exploration
  2. Co-design and co-experiment
  3. Co-implementation and maintenance
  4. Co-monitoring and evaluation

Digital Tools for Planners

In the context of the B.Green project, digitality can be roughly divided into two categories: software tools and digital solutions. Digital solutions means using a mix of software combined with various types of data, created 3D-models of plants. These digital solutions are usually created for highly specific use-cases, such as mapping local green areas using mobile devices and relaying the data as a base for information modelling.

Stakeholder Participation

Comprehensive planning requires broad expertise. This should include local stakeholder participation, co-creation from the start in design and development of green infrastructure, participation and social transformation.

Application: B.Green case study examples

Using B.Green to create pollinator highways in Tallinn: as part of the B.Green project this case study used the B.Green handbook to create a pollinator highway.

Capabilities and resources required

The handbook is meant to be an easy to use guide for urban planners or organisations working with urban planner, e.g. NGOs, community groups, etc. No previous knowledge is necessary and the handbook provides a glossary for specific terms and examples and visualisations to give a better understanding of concepts and processes. The Handbook is available in English, Estonian and Finnish as these were the main langauges of the project partners. In the resources, one can find a lengthy list of the case studies that were linked to throughout the entire handbook. Each case describes the resources and skills needed for each of the specific digital and participatory “tools” which were applied in the project.

Implementation tips: key enablers and potential barriers

Key enablers and barriers are described in the handbook. In fact, the handbook is developed around the concept of challenges – challenges faced by urban planners in integrating green infrastructure into planning. For each barrier the handbook also provides potential solutions. Individual solutions related to green infrastructure are of course context specific, as are the challenges in each situation. However, the planning process and the challenges described in the handbook are general enough to be widely applicable to many contexts.

Potential integration with other tools

The handbook can be used alongside other tools and should be complementary. It operates along the lines of principles and thus should not conflict with other tools.

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