In order to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goal #11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), an integrative approach is necessary. Complex outcomes such as sustainable cities are the product of a range of policies and drivers that are sometimes at odds with each other. Yet, traditional policy assessments often focus on specific ambitions such as housing, green spaces, etc., and are blind to the consequences of policy interactions. This research proposes the use of remote sensing technologies to monitor and analyse the resultant effects of opposing urban policies. In particular, we will look at the conflicting policy goals in Amsterdam between the policy to densify, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, goals of protecting and improving urban green space. We conducted an analysis to detect changes in land-uses within the urban core of Amsterdam, using satellite images from 2003 and 2016. The results indeed show a decrease of green space and an increase in the built-up environment. In addition, we reveal strong fragmentation of green space, indicating that green space is increasingly available in smaller patches. These results illustrate that the urban green space policies of the municipality appear insufficient to mitigate the negative outcomes of the city’s densification on urban green space. Additionally, we demonstrate how remote sensing can be a valuable instrument in investigating the net consequences of policies and urban developments that would be difficult to monitor through traditional policy assessments.
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