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Multiple values of urban green spaces (Tuesday 4 February, 2014) to be deleted

A hands-on examination of this important aspect of urban form and function, with emphasis on the many ways in which green spaces contribute to human health and wellbeing in cities. Expert presentations will be complemented by a walking tour of the Wellington Town Belt and nearby suburban green spaces. Presentations and tour will both generate lively discussion which can be expected to advance New Zealand understanding of the topic. This course is to designed to complement the Summer School course “Compact urban housing: then and now” which takes place the next day, Wednesday 5 February.


This day aims to share knowledge and promote discussion on the multiple values and ecosystem services of urban green spaces in New Zealand (including recreation, health, amenity, biodiversity, active transport, carbon storage and resilience), in order to effectively advance knowledge of these values and promote them amongst urban planners and decision makers. Who should attend?

This course will be of interest to urban planners, parks and green space managers, recreation planners, health planners and community workers throughout New Zealand who are interested in supporting people’s wellbeing needs; anyone interested in the links between urban living and wellbeing; anyone keen to network with others interested in changing the way we live.

Topics covered

  • Introduction to urban green spaces, their health and wellbeing values and contribution to urban ecosystem services
  • Guest presentations and case studies covering urban food production, accessibility and equity in green space provision, public and private urban spaces, green spaces in transport and recreation planning, biodiversity values, and more
  • Building green space values into urban form and sustainability planning

Style of course

  • Morning: Presentations to group followed by case studies and and discussion
  • Afternoon: Walking tour of Wellington Town Belt and suburban green spaces close to Wellington Medical School, involving about 2 hours of gentle walking interspersed by discussion and refreshment stops.

Who should attend?

This course will interest a wide range of planners, managers and researchers working in health, recreation, transport, local and central government, and the private sector. It will ideally complement the OUW Summer School course on “Compact urban housing: then & now”, Wednesday 5th Feb (following day).

Draft timetable

9amIntroduction to dayDr Paul Blaschke
9:10amIntroduction to urban open spaces, and their ecosystem service valuesDr Paul Blaschke

Introduction to research on health and wellbeing values associated with urban green space

Introduction to research on accessibility of urban green spaces and equitability

Dr Paul Blaschke
10:20amCommentary and discussionDr Paul Blaschke
10:30amMorning break

Case studies and discussion
1. Urban food production and self-sufficiency
2. Public and private green spaces - Dunedin Garden Study
3. Biodiversity - botanical gardens, heritage reserves and other green spaces in the resilient green network

James Richardson, VUW
Claire Freeman, UO
Shona Myers, Auckland
12:15pmGeneral discussion
12:30pmLunch break
1:20pmIntroduction to walking tour and the Capital Spaces Strategy- An Open Spaces and Recreation Framework for WellingtonMike Oates, WCC
1:40pmWalking tour, Wellington Town Belt (TB) and suburban green spaces close to Wellington Medical School
Short (5-10 min) presentations and discussion at stops along way, FROM
1. Innermost Gardens
2. Recreation aspects
3. Biodiversity and carbon storage values in the TB
4. Forest restoration projects (Victor Anton and Nicky Oliver-Smith, CBRE, VUW)
5. Wellingtonians’ attitudes to small reserves (Julie Whitburn, CBRE)
6. ACTIVE study – walking and cycling routes in the TB
7. Green space values of road reserves (John Gray)
8. Regent Park and flats
Dr Paul Blaschke and Wellington City Council open space planners, guest presenters
4pmWrap-up discussion on advancement of urban green space research, management, and application to urban planningGroup and Amber Bill (WCC) at Baobab cafe

Teaching staff

Paul_Blaschke_profileConvenor: Dr Paul Blaschke is an ecologist by training. He is experienced in a wide range of applied ecology and environmental health issues in New Zealand, including ecological restoration, community involvement in environmental issues, ecosystem services research, and relationships between environmental quality and human health. He has a particular interest in the contribution of green and blue spaces to ecosystem service values in the urban environment. Paul has convened the OUW Public Health Department “Health and the Environment” paper since 2010, combining part-time university teaching at Otago and Victoria Universities with his independent environmental consultancy.

Guest presenter: Claire Freeman, Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Planning programme in the Department of Geography, University of Otago

Guest presenter: James Richardson Teaching Fellow at the School of Architecture, Victoria University, following a teaching career in Canada, New Zealand and the United States, and training in Outdoor and Experiential Education. James has studied regional planning, permaculture, natural building and biodynamic farming and brings to the course a deep understanding of the art and science of sustainability.

Guest presenter: Shona Myers, ecologist with wide experience in regional and central government agencies, and private consultancy. Shona is currently working in the resource management team in the Department of Conservation and was previously a senior manager and ecologist with the Auckland Regional Council, managing and leading biodiversity teams implementing biodiversity conservation programmes throughout the region. She is a past President and current secretary of the New Zealand Ecological Society, and current President of the International Association for Ecology (INTECOL).

Guest presenter: Mike Oates (Manager Open Space & Recreation Planning), Steven Peters (Senior Park Ranger), and Amber Bill (Manager, Parks, Sport and Recreation) are all long-time senior managers in Wellington City Council, concerned with the management of parks and open spaces for the benefit of Wellington.

Course cost

public health summer school registernow$300 early bird, $400 after 20 December 2013.

A 50% discount is available to full-time students, those unwaged and University of Otago staff.

For further information contact:
Paul Blaschke, email: