International Journal of Marine and Environmental Sciences (Volume 1 Issue 1)
 Polycentric City Regions and the Role of Urban Forestry in Reviving the Concept of Landscape Structure Planning IJMES
Pages 29-35

Alan Simson

Published: 15 January 2018
The World is continuing to urbanise at an increasing and some would say alarming rate. Urban expansion is not uniform in all countries however but without a doubt, as cities continue to expand, the 21st century will become the century of the City Region and even the Polycentric City Region. These terms emerged in the latter part of the 20th century, as urbanists strove to get to grips with dealing with the urban expansion of metropolitan areas in an environmentally acceptable way, and the concept of the “sustainable compact city” was advocated. There is now an increasing canon of research however that suggests that such cities do not always generate a high quality of human life, and therefore may not be quite as sustainable or resilient as they were made out to be. In an attempt to address this, the concept of “urban green infrastructure” [UGI], which includes the concept of urban forestry, has been promoted as being central to improving the quality of urban futures. To deliver its full potential however, UFI needs to be incorporated into new thinking around the landscape structure planning of such expanding cities and city regions, to ensure that they provide an acceptable quality of life for their inhabitants. The environmental, economic, social, human health and well-being and cultural benefits that can be promoted by adopting such an approach to resilient landscape structure planning are considerable. Reviving the concept of landscape structure planning would assist in restoring the beneficial relationships that people once had with their landscapes. Human beings have long had a deep, cultural relationship with their landscapes – a relationship which transcends national cultures – but this relationship that has arguably suffered as a result of the industrialisation and post-industrialisation of our planet. This paper will consider the benefits that can be achieved from developing a viable urban forest structure as the backbone of Polycentric City Region Landscape Structure Planning, and will focus upon the Leeds Polycentric City Region in the UK and its emerging Leeds City Region Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy 2017 - 2036 as a case study.
Polycentric city regions, Landscape structure planning, Urban forestry, Post-industrialisation.