An investigation of green space in a developing country city: The feasibility of creating a network of such spaces
In developing countries a big issue for urban development is the growth in infrastructure in response to economic and population demands. Such development causes cities to expand and occupy the suburbs, turning them into more built up areas. The impacts of such urban growth are immediately observable in the reduction of green areas and environmental quality, and diminishing contact with the natural environment. This study will focus on green spaces in a city in a developing country to consider the effect of this urbanization. In response to urban growth in developed countries attempts have been made to link together green spaces into a form of networks. These networks are intended to conserve the function of natural areas in towns and cities while still accommodating development. The greenway or green network and ecological network are two successful approaches developed in America and Europe. This study assesses the green spaces in Makassar, an Indonesia city, to see possibility of implementing such concepts. The study begins by redefining spaces into a typology, then assessing the spaces through three stages. The first stage is biodiversity assessment. The Rapid Biodiversity Assessment, adapted from a study in the UK, is used to assess plant biodiversity as an indicator of the quality of green spaces in urban areas. This method was adjusted and simplified to reflect the limitation in resources and time. The second stage was assessment of spaces based on a target species, in this case urban birds. The third stage combines the biodiversity score with consideration of space size and ownership. This stage produced different classes of spaces. These stages produced three different maps which were then overlaid to find the best quality green spaces termed ‘the most preferred spaces’. The next step was to see whether these spaces could be linked up in a network and to determine what sort of network could be achieved. In this part of the analysis spaces are grouped into main patches and scattered small patches, termed stepping stones. With this approach the potential connectivity can be observed visually. This study also acknowledged the significance of areas of ecological quality outside the main city but within the greater urban region and proposed connection of the network of spaces outward towards two natural parks, which could be considered as the main ecological patches. Having assessed the two main elements of a green space network—patches and corridors—through visual observation of the maps generated by the fieldwork, this study concludes that currently an ecological network is not feasible for the city because of the condition of the green spaces that make up the patches and corridors. Even a greenway along the main river corridor is not currently feasible because the highly valuable natural remnants have been significantly fragmented by cultural activities. Similarly, the road corridors are also not currently in a promising condition. The thesis ends with recommendations for the improvement of these.