Versnellen van het stedelijk vergroeningsprogramma in Leuven
: De rol van ecosysteemdiensten, sociale gelijkheid en participatieprocessen

Translated title of the thesis: Accelerating the urban greening program in Leuven : The role of ecosystem services, social equality and participation processes
  • Nienke Bergsma
  • Nienke De Jong
  • Marco de Kok
  • Dennis Kriek

Student thesis: Bachelor's Thesis


Purpose – This research was conducted based on the question of the city of Leuven how they can increase the pace of urban greening to make the city more resilient to ecological risks such as urban heat island effect, drought and flooding. The aim is to find out where there are opportunities to make greening policy more effective and socially just in order to ensure the desired acceleration. To this end, the relationship of greening actions with ecosystem services, social equality and participation is examined.
Method – The data comes from literature research and interviews with experts (semi-structured open interviews and a focus group). The literature review includes consultation and analysis of scientific articles, policy documents, statistical data, maps and news articles.
Results – The best opportunities in greening practices lie within those that generate notable effects, such as forests or parks covered with lots of trees, or cover a lot of (joint) surface. There are a number of neighborhoods in Leuven, where ecological risks occur and vulnerable groups are located, that do not yet benefit sufficiently from the greening policy. Based on the scientific literature, a model was developed and tested with which participatory processes for the redesign of streets can be designed and evaluated. From a comparison with greening policies in Groningen and Enschede, four different themes emerge, from which 29 different projects are described to draw lessons.
Conclusion – Leuven should focus on greening practices with the greatest positive effects on ecosystem services, which have an impact on reducing the urban heat island effect, drought and flooding. To promote social equity within climate policy, these greening practices are preferably applied in neighborhoods with ecological risks and socially vulnerable residents. In addition, Leuven should use the interactive decision-making model to make participatory processes work well and build learning capacity. Participating in and initiating a greening project should be accessible and simple for all citizens and not create financial barriers. Increased awareness around the impacts of climate change and climate adaptive actions has an impact on participation and the success of greening.
Date of Award18 Mar 2022
Original languageDutch
SupervisorStijn Neuteleers (Supervisor), Wim Verheyden (Co-assessor) & Angelique Lansu (Examiner)


  • Greening
  • Urban Heat Island Effect
  • Social vulnerability
  • participation
  • ecosystem services

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