Issues of green space are crucial and relevant to a number of the themes in the Katumetro research agenda 2011, in particular the diversity of urban nature, climate and environmental change, migrant integration, wellbeing factors and economic competitiveness and metropolitan branding. Such issues also serve to link and integrate wider concerns of metropolitan governance.
Since 2000 Professor Peter Clark, Professor of European Urban History at University of Helsinki, has established a leading reputation for international and interdisciplinary research on urban green space: through a major Academy of Finland project (with Finnish, Swedish, Russian and UK participation) on Green Space in Helsinki, Stockholm, London and St Petersburg which led to the publication P. Clark, ed., The European City and Green Space 1850–2000 (Ashgate, 2006); and a Nessling and Helsinki University funded project on Green Space and Sport (with Italian, Dutch, UK and Finnish participation) published in 2009 as P. Clark, M. Niemi, and J. Niemelä, eds., Sport, Recreation and Green Space in the European City (SKS). In 2009 Prof. Clark published a wide-ranging comparative study of European Cities and Towns 400–2000 (Oxford).
The project builds on earlier work and the interdisciplinary and international cooperation established and focuses on new key questions; what is the effect of urban infilling in Helsinki on the ecological diversity of green space? What is the impact of economic recession on the production and consumption of green space (comparing events in the early 1990s and 2009–10)? How does green space and its use contribute to immigrant integration – comparing Helsinki and Vantaa? How does Helsinki experience in these areas compare with other major European cities such as Stockholm, Leicester, Brussels, Prague?