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Modeling ecosystem services for sustainable urban integration and planning (China’s Greater Bay Area)

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Articulating the benefits of urban nature to inform urban integration and planning. 

We worked with the World Bank, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and local planners in Guangzhou to assess the value of natural capital in two different contexts: the Haizhu wetland and the New Knowledge City. In the nearby city of Shenzhen, we worked with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the municipal government to design, implement, and improve the application of Gross Ecosystem Product (GEP) accounting.

Project summary

The Haizhu National Wetland Park is an 11km2 green space in the heart of the Chinese megacity of Guangzhou, in the Province of Guangdong. The wetland supports local biodiversity and provides essential ecosystem services to the city’s 72 million residents. While the wetland is home to hundreds more insect and avian species than the surrounding city and received more than 60 million visitors over the last decade, many of its additional benefits remain unquantified. Articulating a diverse suite of benefits provided to people by the wetland can help bolster arguments for its continued protection and inform ecological planning in the city. To help city officials and urban planners to make ecologically-informed decisions about urban development, we modeled a number of ecosystem services provided by the Haizhu Wetland  Ecosystem: urban cooling, carbon storage and sequestration, physical health, mental health, and recreation.

To support the development of a new district in Guangzhou, called the New Knowledge City, we helped local planners learn to use the InVEST urban cooling model so that they could compare the urban cooling benefits of alternative new designs for the district.

Funding: World Bank

Project Category: Sustainable Development Planning     
Project Status: Completed