Urban landscapes as learning arenas for biodiversity and ecosystem services management

Author(s): Marianne E. Krasny, Cecilia Lundholm, Soul Shava, Eunju Lee, Hiromi Kobori
In: Elmqvist, T, Fragkias, M, Goodness, J, Güneralp, B, Marcotullio, PJ, McDonald, RI Parnell, S, Schewenius, M, Sendstad, M, Seto, KC, Wilkinson, C. (Eds.) Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities. Springer, Dordrecht.
Year: 2013
Type: Book chapter
Theme affiliation: Urban
Link to centre authors: Lundholm, Cecilia
Full reference: Krasny, M., Lundholm, C., Shava, S., Lee, E., Kobori, H. 2013. Urban landscapes as learning arenas for biodiversity and ecosystem services management. In Elmqvist, T, Fragkias, M, Goodness, J, Güneralp, B, Marcotullio, PJ, McDonald, RI Parnell, S, Schewenius, M, Sendstad, M, Seto, KC, Wilkinson, C. (Eds.) Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities. Springer, Dordrecht.

Summary

Using examples from Asia, Africa, and North America, we demonstrate how restoration and stewardship projects, including those with significant community engagement, provide opportunities for environmental and biodiversity learning in cities. Although research on such programs is in its initial stages, several studies show positive impacts of urban environmental education and related field science inquiry experiences on participant environmental attitudes, awareness of urban nature, science understanding, and self-efficacy, with greater effects correlated with degree of involvement in hands-on, field-based experiences.

In addition, programs that actively engage participants in restoration and inquiry reflect social equity, participatory, and environmental principles central to global initiatives in environmental education and sustainability. Such projects also reflect current theories of learning including those focusing on the ways children construct understanding of phenomena they encounter in everyday life (constructivism) and those that describe learning as an outcome of interaction with the socio-cultural and bio-physical environment (social learning).

While recognizing the importance of school-based learning, our case examples illustrate the myriad of out-of-school learning arenas connected to projects in which civil society groups, government, and volunteers collaboratively engage in environmental stewardship, such as pond restoration to create dragonfly habitat in Japanese cities, indigenous species restoration at the Edith Stephens Wetland Park in Cape Flats, South Africa, and urban community gardening in vacant lots and other degraded spaces in the USA. More formal restoration projects, such as the daylighting of the Cheonggye-cheon River in Seoul, South Korea, as well as botanic gardens that feature biological and cultural diversity, also integrate nature-based, cultural, historical, and science inquiry learning opportunities.

Given that many urban environmental education projects are local in scope, partnerships with global initiatives such as the UN Education for Sustainable Development and the Convention for Biological Diversity Communication, Education and Public Awareness, and with NGOs, governments, and business, are needed to leverage these learning arenas to effect broader regional, national, and even global systemic change.

Share

Stockholm Resilience Centre is a collaboration between Stockholm University and the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Stockholm Resilience Centre
Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B
SE-10691
Phone: +46 8 674 70 70
info@stockholmresilience.su.se

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201