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The social production of ecosystem services: A framework for studying environmental justice and ecological complexity in urbanized landscapes
Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University; African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6415-4821
2013 (English)In: Landscape and Urban Planning, ISSN 0169-2046, Vol. 109, no 1, 7-17 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A framework is constructed for how to relate ecosystem services to environmental justice. The benefits humans and society can derive from biophysical processes cannot be viewed as objectively existing “out there”, but as entangled in social and political processes. This is unpacked through the analytical moments of generation, distribution and articulation of ecosystem services. Social practice moderates the generation of benefits from biophysical processes (through urban development patterns and day-to-day management of urban ecosystems), but also who in society that benefits from them, i.e. the distribution of ecosystem services (viewed here as the temporal and spatial scales at which it is possible for humans to benefit from biophysical processes). Moreover, for biophysical processes to attain value in decision- making, a social practice of value articulation is needed. The framework then moves between two levels of analysis. At the city-wide level, an ecological network translates how urban ‘green’ areas, viewed as nodes, are interconnected by ecological flows (water, species movement, etc.) where nodes have different protective and management capacities. The network captures spatial complexity—what happens in one location, can have effects elsewhere. At the local level, urban struggles over land-use are studied to trace how actors utilize artifacts and social arenas to articulate how certain biophysical processes are of value. Competing networks of value articulation strive to influence land-use, and multiple local studies bring understanding of how power operates locally, informing city-wide analyses. Empirical studies from Stockholm, Cape Town and other cities inform the framework.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 109, no 1, 7-17 p.
Keyword [en]
Actor-Network Theory (ANT), Ecosystem services, Environmental justice, Resilience, Social-ecological network analysis (SENA), Urban political ecology
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-145915DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2012.10.005ISI: 000313387400002ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84870317369OAI: diva2:721181
Ways of Knowing Urban Ecologies (WOK-UE)
Formas, 250-2010-1372

QC 20140627

Available from: 2014-06-03 Created: 2014-06-03 Last updated: 2014-06-27Bibliographically approved

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