A multi-criteria evaluation of green spaces in European cities

Tüzin Baycan-Levent*, Ron Vreeker, Peter Nijkamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Green spaces, such as parks, are an essential constituent of urban quality of life. It is noteworthy, however, that some cities have been more successful in implementing a green space policy than others. This article aims to assess the complex and heterogeneous supply of urban green spaces by means of a multidimensional evaluation approach, and to compare the 'green performance' of European cities in terms of the present situation, priorities in decision making and planning, and their success level as evaluated by experts in the field. The article examines urban green spaces from the viewpoint of relevant indicators, in particular 'quantity and availability of urban green spaces', 'changes in green spaces', 'planning of urban green spaces', 'financing of urban green spaces' and 'level of performance', on the basis of a comparison of 24 European cities. It deploys a proper type of multi-criteria analysis for mixed quantitative and qualitative information, coined Regime Analysis. A comparison of urban green spaces in European cities by means of this multi-criteria analysis brings to light the critical elements in green space availability and sets out choice directions based on priorities in decision making and policy evaluation.The results of this Regime Analysis show that when only the indicators on the availability of urban green spaces are used to assess the green performance with a view to a ranking of European cities, the Southern European cities are in the lead. However, when the planning performance indicators are also taken into consideration, the Northern European cities appear to have higher scores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-213
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Urban and Regional Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • European cities
  • Green spaces
  • Urban greening
  • Urban multi-assessment methods
  • Urban planning


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