A social-ecological-technological systems framework for urban ecosystem services


As rates of urbanization and climatic change soar, decision-makers are increasingly challenged to provide innovative solutions that simultaneously address climate change impacts and risks and inclusively ensure quality of life for urban residents. Cities have turned to nature-based solutions to help address these challenges. Nature-based solutions, through the provision of ecosystem services, can yield numerous benefits for people and address multiple challenges simultaneously. Yet, efforts to mainstream nature-based solutions are impaired by the complexity of the interacting social, ecological, and technological dimensions of urban systems. This complexity must be understood and managed to ensure ecosystem-service provisioning is effective, equitable, and resilient.

Here, we provide a social-ecological-technological system (SETS) framework that builds on decades of urban ecosystem services research to better understand four core challenges associated with urban nature-based solutions: multi-functionality, systemic valuation, scale mismatch of ecosystem services, and inequity and injustice. The framework illustrates the importance of coordinating natural, technological, and socio-economic systems when designing, planning, and managing urban nature-based solutions to enable optimal social-ecological outcomes.


Link to centre authors: Andersson, Erik
Publication info: McPhearson, T., Cook, E., Berbés-Blázquez, M., Cheng, C., Grimm, N., Andersson, E., Barbosa, O., Chandler, D., Chang, H., Chester, M., Childers, D., Elser, S., Frantzeskaki, N., Grabowski, Z., Groffman, P., Hale, R., Iwaniec, D., Kabisch, N., Kennedy, C., Markolf, S., Matsler, A., McPhillips, L., Miller, T., Muñoz-Erickson, T., Rosi, E., Troxler, T. 2022. A social-ecological-technological systems framework for urban ecosystem services. One Earth. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2022.04.007

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