The potential of ‘Urban Green Commons’ in the resilience building of cities

Author(s): Colding, J. and Barthel, S.
In: Ecological Economics 86, 156–166.
Year: 2013
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Urban
Link to centre authors: Barthel, Stephan, Colding, Johan
Full reference: Colding, J. and Barthel, S. (2013) The potential of ‘Urban Green Commons’ in the resilience building of cities. Ecological Economics 86, 156–166.


While cultural diversity is increasing in cities at a global level as a result of urbanization, biodiversity is decreasing with a subsequent loss of ecosystem services. It is clear that diversity plays a pivotal role in the resilience building of ecosystems; however, it is less clear what role cultural diversity plays in the resilience building of urban systems.

In this paper we provide innovative insights on how common property systems could contribute to urban resilience building. Through a review of recent findings on urban common property systems and the relevant literature, we deal with urban green commons (UGCs) and discuss their potential to manage cultural and biological diversity in cities. We describe three examples of UGCs, i.e. collectively managed parks, community gardens, and allotment areas, with a focus on their institutional characteristics, their role in promoting diverse learning streams, environmental stewardship, and social—ecological memory.

We discuss how UGCs can facilitate cultural integration through civic participation in urban land-management, conditions for the emergence of UGCs, the importance of cognitive resilience building, and what role property-rights diversity plays in urban settings. We conclude by elucidating some key insights on how UGCs can promote urban resilience building.


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
Phone: +46 8 674 70 70

Organisation number: 202100-3062
VAT No: SE202100306201