How ecosystems services drive urban growth: Integrating nature-based solutions


Addressing urban challenges with nature-based approaches can improve and protect ecosystem services. Yet, urban planning has not efficiently integrated such approaches to manage land use. This paper examines interactions between human and natural systems that result in ecosystem services and changes in land use and land cover in urban areas.

It develops a social-ecological model for land use and land cover change, and for ecosystems services that integrates nature-based solutions in urban planning. The model treats spatial variations in ecosystems services as both drivers and consequences of human decision-making in choosing commercial and residential locations that drive land use and land cover change.

We tested the social-ecological model in Stockholm County, Sweden, on a 30 × 30 m grid. Results show that accessibility in ecosystem services drives urban residential and commercial development, characterized by non-linearity. Areas around existing urban centers show high accessibility in ecosystem services and high development probabilities, whereas smaller population centers in large areas enjoy high accessibility to ecosystem services and low urban development probabilities. Model results suggest place-specific nature-based strategies for addressing the heterogeneous spatial relationships between ecosystem services and urban development.


Link to centre authors: Barthel, Stephan
Publication info: Pan, H., Page, J., Cong, C., Barthel, S., Kalantari, Z.. 2021. How ecosystems services drive urban growth: Integrating nature-based solutions. Anthropocene Volume 35, September 2021, 100297,