Cultural ecosystem services as a gateway for improving urban sustainability

Author(s): Andersson, E., M. Tengö, T. McPhearson, P. Kremer
In: Ecosystem Services 12: 165–168
Year: 2015
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Urban
Link to centre authors: Andersson, Erik, Tengö, Maria
Full reference: Andersson, E., M. Tengö, T. McPhearson, P. Kremer. 2015. Cultural ecosystem services as a gateway for improving urban sustainability. Ecosystem Services 12: 165–168.


Quality of life in cities depends, among other things, on ecosystem services (ES) generated locally within the cities by multifunctional blue and green infrastructure. Successfully protecting green infrastructure in locations also attractive for urban development requires deliberate processes of planning and policy formulation as well as broad public support.

We propose that cultural ecosystem services (CES) may serve as a useful gateway for addressing and managing nature in cities. CES can help embed multifunctional ecosystems and the services they generate in urban landscapes and in the minds of urbanites and planners, and thus serve an important role in addressing urban sustainability.

In the city, CES may be more directly experienced, their benefits more readily appreciated, and the environment-to-benefit linkages more easily and intuitively understood by the beneficiaries relative to many material ES. Thus, we suggest that a focus on CES supply can be a good starting point for increasing the awareness among urban residents also of the importance of ES. Furthermore, CES are often generated interdependently with other critical ES and engaging people in the stewardship of CES could provide increased awareness of the benefits of a larger group of urban non-cultural ES.

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