Green & Blue Infrastructures - GBI
The Green and Blue Research Line results from a merging process of the former Research Centre for Landscape Architecture "Prof. Caldeira Cabral" along with three other R&D Units from Instituto Superior de Agronomia, in form a larger unit, LEAF – Linking Landscape, Environment, Agriculture and Food.
The concept of Green Infrastructures is not new and results from a continuing evolution and research, able to influence both landscape and planning, as well as design trends. Since the 19th century the need of protecting some areas or landscape features in order to keep the ecological balance of landscape is an established idea. From the Olmsted’s Central Park of New York, to the Garden City of Ebenezer Howard, including English green belts around cities, the creation of urban “lungs“ or green corridors, were specially developed in the industrialized countries, all of them as a way of ameliorate quality of life by introducing vegetation in urban areas. The definition of the homeostasis concept by Walter Cannon, in 1927 and the development of a new science – the Ecology – reinforced the need of creating green continuities inside cities.
Green and Blue Infrastructures Research Line includes integrated members from other LEAF research Groups I and III, namely landscape architects, phytosociologists and agronomists with several specializations (lithology /geomorphology, soil, vegetation and crops protection, vegetation conservation and hydric relations). This team will cooperate with researchers from other LEAF’s groups and from other research units as in previous practice. Each one of these fields of knowledge will constitute task teams that will contribute to GI implementation as follows:
- Landscape architecture;
- Vegetation conservation;
- Vegetation and crops protection;
- Hydric relations.
Following the latest EU recommendations the main objective of the GBI Research Line is to promote the implementation of Green Infrastructure’s (GI) concept in Portugal and CLP countries. Furthermore, it is intended to identify particular situations that should be developed as GI, especially in Lisbon Metropolitan Area. The basis for the work to be developed is the National Ecological Network delimitated by the project “National Ecological Network – a proposal of delimitation and regulation”. This network is equivalent to the concept of GI and integrates all the areas responsible for the ecological balance related with geology/lithology, geomorphology, soil, water, vegetation, climate and nature conservation specific areas. Another ongoing project “Potential Land-Use Ecological Plan. Application to Portugal”, will complement the National Ecological Network with cartographic information about land suitability for human activities, namely, agriculture, forest, pastures, nature conservation and urban areas.