Green Infrastructure for Climate Adaptation in African Cities

Part of the Future City book series (FUCI, volume 4)


Green infrastructure is a core component of any city. The ecosystem services that it provides already make an important contribution to the health and wellbeing of urban dwellers and are considered to be vital for future urban sustainability. In the case of African cities, this argument is stronger still given that other forms of infrastructure are often lacking or seriously underperforming. This chapter discusses the potential role of urban ecosystem services for climate adaptation in African cities. It is based on an empirical assessment of the urban morphology, green structures and ecosystem services of five cities, with a particular emphasis on provisioning services from woody cover and temperature regulating services from evapotranspiring surfaces in two of them. An analysis of retrospective and prospective change helps to establish the extent of pressures to green structures – including in the context of climate change – and the prospects for using green infrastructure for achieving urban climate adaptation. The results show considerable losses in green structures and their associated ecosystem services; something set to continue under ‘business as usual’ development scenarios projected to 2025. Indeed, there is already a greater need for services than is currently satisfied, especially in the urban core. Our results suggest that, although climate change is an additional pressure to ecosystem services, it is development which poses the greatest immediate threat. It is therefore critical that green infrastructure planning is strengthened and brought into the core of urban development planning as part of climate adaptation and broader sustainability goals.


Urban ecosystem services Urban heat island Vegetation 



The authors would like to acknowledge the input of the entire Task 2.2 team for their contributions to the research process, and the data providers, stakeholders and funders who have helped to make the research possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environment, Education and DevelopmentUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC)Addis Ababa UniversityAddis AbabaEthiopia
  3. 3.Institute of Human Settlements Studies (IHSS)Ardhi University (ARU)Dar es SalaamTanzania
  4. 4.Chair for Strategic Landscape Planning and ManagementTechnical University of Munich (TUM)FreisingGermany
  5. 5.Department of GeographyUniversity of Gaston BergerSaint LouisSenegal
  6. 6.Department of Geography in the Ecole Normale SupérieureUniversity of Yaoundé IYaoundéCameroon
  7. 7.L’Unité de Formation et de Recherche en Sciences de la Vie et de la Terre (UFR SVT), Department BA/PAUniversity of OuagadougouOuaga 03Burkina Faso
  8. 8.Department of Geography in the Faculté des Arts, Lettres et Sciences HumainesUniversity of Yaoundé IYaoundéCameroon
  9. 9.National Advanced School of EngineeringUniversity of Yaoundé IYaoundéCameroon
  10. 10.Laboratoire de SystÒme d’Information, de Gestion del’Environnement e de Développement Durable (LSI-GEDD)Université Aube Nouvelle (U-AUBEN)OuagadougouBurkina Faso
  11. 11.Géographe / aménagisteUniversity of OuagadougouOuaga 03Burkina Faso

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