, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 434-444,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 17 Apr 2014

Opportunities for Increasing Resilience and Sustainability of Urban Social–Ecological Systems: Insights from the URBES and the Cities and Biodiversity Outlook Projects


Urban futures that are more resilient and sustainable require an integrated social–ecological system approach to urban policymaking, planning, management, and governance. In this article, we introduce the Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (URBES) and the Cities and Biodiversity Outlook (CBO) Projects as new social–ecological contributions to research and practice on emerging urban resilience and ecosystem services. We provide an overview of the projects and present global urbanization trends and their effects on ecosystems and biodiversity, as a context for new knowledge generated in the URBES case-study cities, including Berlin, New York, Rotterdam, Barcelona, and Stockholm. The cities represent contrasting urbanization trends and examples of emerging science–policy linkages for improving urban landscapes for human health and well-being. In addition, we highlight 10 key messages of the global CBO assessment as a knowledge platform for urban leaders to incorporate state-of-the-art science on URBES into decision-making for sustainable and resilient urban development.