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Densification of cities is presently one of the dominating strategies for urbanization globally. However, how densification of cities is linked to processes in the peri-urban landscapes is rather unknown. The aim of this paper is to highlight the potentials in of peri-urban landscapes to be recognized as complementary providers of urban ecosystem services when green areas in cities are reduced by densification. We suggest that the way forward is to change the perceptions of peri-urban areas from being defined as located between cities and rural areas with a specific population density or a geographical distance, to become recognized as a landscape defined by its functionality. By identifying and describing the functionality in peri-urban landscapes the existing governance gaps can be recognized and thus dealt with through adaptation of existing planning tools. Although not yet articulated, peri-urban areas should be used to facilitate integration of top down and bottom up approaches and thereby closing the governance gaps. We illustrate this reasoning by two examples; one of the establishment of green wedges in Stockholm, Sweden, and the other with the establishments of international Model forests. We conclude that further densification of cities will create a lack of ecosystem services in cities by putting an even higher pressure on the peri-urban landscape and not as suggested today that densification lower pressure on peri-urban landscapes. Rethinking and reframing the peri-urban areas by adapting existing platforms will potentially contribute to a more nuanced discussion on strategies for urban development generally.