Green areas and their multiple values are widely recognised, but they are simultaneously contested by an accelerating urbanisation process. The current emphasis on compact city policies leads to redefining and reshaping the urban green. Examples of these new priorities are objectives accentuating a coherent city instead of a coherent green structure, the quality of green areas rather than their quantity, development instead of preservation and urban character versus nature-based values. This paper addresses the detected paradigm shift in green planning, focusing on Helsinki City Plan approved in 2016. The research data consists of master planning documents and an analysis of the evolution of green zones in Helsinki, Finland. The paper contributes to the discussion on the opposition and interdependence of green and urban structures in the compact city discourse.