The increasing interest in urban nature and its connection to urban sustainability and resilience has promoted the generalized use of new concepts such as green infrastructure, ecosystem services and nature-based solutions. However, due to their heterogeneous origins and interpretations, the usage and understanding of these concepts may vary considerably between different academic and professional groups, affecting their coordinated and synergistic use in integrative planning education and emphasizing the need for the exploration of clearer syntaxes and articulations between them. Accordingly, the main aim of this research was to develop a relational model and to investigate, through an external evaluation process, the benefits that these types of models can provide in higher education and in professional practice. This article presents the background theory and process that led to the development of the relational model, the outcomes of its academic implementation and the results of the assessment of both the model and the students’ work by different types of planners, researchers and practitioners. The findings show the potential of the defined relational model to integrate different concepts operating in complex socio-ecological systems and the benefits of developing, testing and validating models by linking research, education and professional practice.
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