Recognising Green Infrastructure as a Part of the Fourth Nature Concept Through University Campuses


Authors: Miroslav Čibik, Simone Back Prochnow, Richard Stiles and Roberta Štěpánková

Volume/Issue: Volume 23: Issue 2

Published online: 18 Nov 2020

Pages: 71–75



Every ecosystem on Earth is affected by people as well as has an impact on them. The connection between nature and culture, human knowledge and wisdom of Nature, between us and our environment, is in fact very strong, although sometimes underestimated. It can be promoted by a different way of designing architecture and urban plans – these all should change the quality of our decisions and consequently, once we are acquainted with better options or choices to select, also the quality of our lives will be raised. The Fourth Nature concept is being researched with the goal to identify strategies that create straight connections between culture and Nature, in order to provide humanity with better conditions for living in cities. We are urban beings, living with a current prognosis of being a part of a bigger number of urban dwellers each day. Many different ways the Fourth Nature can be practiced, seen and experienced by in several scales and forms could change our living conglomerates. As valuable places in cities, due to their insertion in the urban tissue and also as coexistence and knowledge development areas, university campuses are here taken to examine this aimed optimal relation between Nature and culture. University campuses have been for centuries an important part of human culture. Creating their own ecosystems, campuses impact on the functioning, sustainability and in the overall also on the appearance of the city, through a blue-green infrastructure implementation and its connections. Within the urban structures, they fulfil their role more significantly and provide important spatial, social, economic, visual and health functions. The area, which is often labelled as public or semi-public space, is thus a part of the blue-green infrastructure and its quality affects also the quality of the surrounding environment. The Fourth Nature is seen as a tool or as a turning point in the current environmental crisis and the university campuses are considered to be the modifiers of the quality of their surrounding environment. The intercrossed analysis of their properties in the current context may bring new ideas and application parameters for the design of the contemporary urban landscape.

Keywords: the fourth nature, a blue-green infrastructure, ecosystem services, urban structures



ADLI, M. 2017. Stress and the City. München: Bertelsmann Verlag, 384 p. ISBN 978-3570102701

BENDEDICT, A.–McMAHON, E. 2006. Green Infrastructure Linking Landscapes and Community. London: London: Island Press, 320 p. ISBN 978-1597267649.

BRYANT, R. C. 2012. Keynotes: The discovery of Urban Agriculture. In COST Action Urban Agriculture Europe: Documentation of 1st Working Group Meeting. Aachen: COST, ESF, RWTH Aachen University, 2012. pp. 5–9.

ČIBIK, M. – ŠTĚPÁNKOVÁ, R. 2019. A Multi-Criteria Assessment of the Open University Campus. In Veda mladých 2019 – Science of Youth 2019. Nitra : SUA, 2019, pp. 33–44. ISBN ISBN 978-80-552-2008-6.

ČIBIK, M. et al. 2019. Integration of the Historical Watermill into a Sustainable Peri-Urban Riverfront Redesign. In Public recreation and landscape protection – with nature hand in hand. Brno : MUAF, 2019, pp. 212–216. ISBN 978-80-7509-659-3.

GIESECKE, A. – JACOBS, N. 2012. Earth Perfect? Nature, Utopia and the Garden. London : Black Dog Publishing Limited, 2012, 306 p. ISBN 978-1907317750.

GIROT, C. 2010. Naturerfahrung und Symbolik im Stadtgrün In BECKER, A. – CACHOLA – SCHMAL, P. Stadgrün/Urban Green. Europa Landscape Design for the 21st Century/Europäische Landsschaftsarchitektur für das 21. Jahrhundert. Birkhäuser Verlag GmbH, Basel, 2010, pp. 218–225. ISBN 978-3-0346-0313-3.

GIROT, Ch. 2005. Vers Une Novelle Nature. In ADAM, H. – DETTMAR, J. – GIROT, Ch. – HAUSER, S. – KOCH, M. – KOHTE, M. – MEILI, M. – PICON, A. – ROTZLER, S. – WALDHEIM, Ch. Landscape Architecture in Mutation – Essays on Urban Landscape. GTA Verlag, Zürich, 2005.

HUNT, J. D. 1992. Gardens and the Picturesque – Studies in the History of Landscape Architecture. Cambridge: MIT Press, 408 p. ISBN 978-0262581318.

JENKS, M. – DEMPSEY, N. 2005. Future forms and design for sustainable cities. [online]. Oxford : Architectural Press [cit. 2020-03-05], pp. 1. Available online:

JKU LINZ : axonometry of the campus. 2019. JKU – ein Campus blüht auf! [online]. Linz : JKU Linz [cit. 2020-03-05]. Available online:

KEIL, R. 2003. Urban Political Ecology. In Urban Geography Journal, vol. 24, 2003, no. 8, pp. 723–738.

KLIMENT, M. et al. 2015. Land Use Dataset Collection And Publication Based On Lucas And Hilucs. In Acta Horticulturae et Regiotecturae, vol. 17, 2015, no. 2, pp. 52–59.

LOHRBERG, F. – TIMPE, A. 2012. COST Action Urban Agriculture Europe: Documentation 1st Working Group Meeting. Aachen : RWTH Aachen University, 2012, 98 p.

LOHRBERG, F. 2011. Urban agriculture – General aspects and examples from Germany. In Scales of Nature: 48th IFLA World Congress Proceedings. Zürich : IFLA, BSLA, 2011, 148 p.

LUKMAN, R. – GLAVIC, P. 2007. What are the key elements of a sustainable university? In Clean Techn Environ Policy [online]. [cit. 2020-03-05], 2007, pp. 104–106. Available online: DOI:

MELKOVÁ, P. 2014. Manuál tvorby veřejných prostranství hlavního města Prahy. Praha : IPR/SDM/KVP, 2014, 290 p. ISBN 978-80-87931-11-0.

MELL, I. 2016. Global Green Infrastructure: Lessons for Successful Policy-Making, Investment and Management. Oxon, New York : Routledge, 2016, 212 p. ISBN 978-1-138-85464-2.

MELO, E. F. R. Q. et al. 2020. Recognizing Sustainability in a University Campus Through a Green Trail. In Universities and Sustainable Communities: Meeting the Goals of the Agenda 2030, [online]. [cit. 2020-03-05]. 2020, pp. 2–11. Available online:

PROCHNOW, S. B. – ABREU FILHO, S. B. 2018. QuartaNatureza, Uma Nova Pauta no Projeto de Arquitetura e Urbanismo. In V ENANPARQ Encontro da Associacao Nacional Arquitetura e Urbanismo. [online]. [cit. 2020-03-05]. Available online:

PROCHNOW, S. B. 2019. Fourth Nature: Healing Places. In Kultur – Revista Interdisciplinária Sobre la Cultura de la Ciutat. Valencia, Spain, vol. 6, 2019, no. 12, pp. 203–224. ISSN 2386-5458.

RACHED, I. – ELSHARKAWY, H. 2012. The Role of Open Spaces in the University Campus in the Egyptian context. In Designing Place – International Urban Design Conference. Nottingham : University of Nottingham, 2012, pp. 1–15.

RASHIDI, A. 2013. University Campus as a Public Space of the City – Case Study: Eastern Mediterranean University Campus : doctoral dissertation thesis. Gazimağusa, North Cyprus : Eastern Mediterranean University, 2013, 201 p.

RAWN, W. 2002. Campus and the city. In Rawnarch [online]. [cit. 2020-03-05], 2002, pp. 1–6. Available online:

REID, R. C. 2008. Using LEED as a resource for campus sustainability planning: a white paper: doctoral dissertation thesis. Berkeley, United States : University of California, 2008, 184 p.

TÓTH, A. – FERIANCOVÁ, L'. 2015. Landscape As A Resource For Squat Farming. In Acta Horticulturae et Regiotecturae, vol. 17, 2015, no. 2, pp. 35–37.

UNITED NATIONS. 2011. World Urbanization prospects: the 2011 revision. [online]. [cit. 2020-03-05]. Available online:

VACULOVÁ, V. – ŠTĚPÁNKOVÁ, R. 2017. Application of Rain Gardens to an Urban Area – Housing Estate in Nitra, Slovakia. In Acta Horticulturae et Regiotecturae, vol. 20, 2017, no. 1, pp. 1–5.