The book focuses on the issue of nature protection in urban areas. The subject matter of the research was the formal and legal conditions of protected areas in cities. The analysis regarded Polish and global solutions in the scope of the nature protection categories in urban areas, objectives of creating urban protected areas and instruments for fulfi lling the aims of protection in the spatial aspect. The research on globally applied solutions in the scope of nature protection was based on the analysis of source literature and legal acts on nature conservation in cities situated in various countries. As a result, four major types of urban protected areas were distinguished in 80 different cities. The research enabled formulating major characteristics of urban protected areas. Those were, in particular: the integrated approach to the protection of natural and cultural resources and equal treatment of the natural and social objectives of protection. This was the basis for a critical analysis of domestic solutions in the subject matter. The research on formal and legal conditions for the functioning of protected areas in Polish cities was conducted in the administrative borders of voivodeship capitals. The research included 18 cities in total. The analysis concerned basic documents related to the widely understood management of protected areas, including, in particular: legal acts establishing individual protected areas and protected areas management plans, as well as the studies of conditions and directions for the spatial development of communes and local spatial development plans. The research work regarded spatial forms of nature protection, including: national parks, natural reserves, regional parks, protected landscape areas, Natura 2000 areas, ecological sites, documentation sites and nature-landscape complexes. The research included 229 protected areas in total. For the abovementioned protected areas, the following aspects were analyzed: subject matter and objectives of their protection, premises for creating their functional and spatial infrastructure and methods for their development, as well as the scope of provisions in urban spatial planning documents in the abovementioned respect. The research enabled identifying the key problems in the functioning of protected areas in Polish cities, including:
• small stability of regulations on nature protection and consequential lack of continuity in the protection of naturally valuable areas,
• noticeable tendency to loosen the regulations in the subjected scope, which leads to marginalizing the issues of nature protection while planning urban development.
• no coordination of actions performed by various stakeholders in regard to the protected areas,
• failure to adjust nature protection objectives to conditions resulting from the location in urban areas,
• lack of efficient tools to fulfi ll the nature protection objectives in the spatial aspect.
Based on the identifi ed models of environmental protection in urban areas, premises were formulated with regard to the new model for environmental protection in Polish cities. Three scenarios were proposed with regard to potential changes: modification-oriented, reorganization-oriented and radical. The modification-oriented scenario includes:
• adding the social aspect to the objectives of nature protection in cities,
• extending the scope of the nature conservation act of new nature protection categories appropriate for urban areas,
• increasing the importance of the study of conditions and directions for the spatial development and protection plans with regard to the planning permission.
Reorganization-oriented scenario provides for:
• verifying the objectives of nature protection,
• introducing the obligation to prepare management plans for all protected areas in cities,
• introducing the obligation to update and prepare development plans for areas were nature conservation areas were established.
The radical scenario includes:
• introducing new categories of nature protection in urban areas, including categories that ensure preserving and shaping the connectivity of protected area,
• exposing ecosystem services as the major motif of nature protection in cities,
• introducing new instruments for managing protected areas in cities.
Applying one of the abovementioned scenarios may signifi cantly improve the efficiency of natural protection in cities. It may also contribute to introducing a more innovative model for urban nature protection. Each scenarios will entail the implementation of quite significant legislative changes, either in the scope of nature protection and spatial planning.