Functional landscapes in cities: a systems approach

Abstract

Human enterprise and endeavour increasingly influence global processes of change, from the planetary scale down to the very local. Cities are hubs of human activity, and as the places where the majority of the world’s population live we must, when looking into an uncertain future, consider how we think about urban design. Cities are densely inhabited, lived-in landscapes where human presence and perceptions are deeply enmeshed with biophysical and built infrastructures. As such, they present complex mosaics of different habitats and competing uses, ever changing in response to human and physical drivers. If designed properly, green infrastructure can contribute many important functions to a city. Efforts to strategically make use of green infrastructure can benefit considerably from a systems perspective where linkages and cross-boundary dynamics are at the very least as important as individual components. Design, planning and governance of requirements for green infrastructure also extend far beyond biophysical elements and components. Recognition of interconnections between individual green spaces, green infrastructure and the built environment, the physical environment and diverse actors, and formal and informal governance arrangements—as outlined in the four design principles in this article—is a first important step towards a more comprehensive and inclusive approach, not least to green infrastructure planning and design.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Alberti M, Marzluff JM, Shulenberger E et al (2003) Integrating humans into ecology: opportunities and challenges for studying urban ecosystems. Bioscience 53:1169–1179

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Allen CR, Angeler DG, Cumming GS et al (2016) REVIEW: quantifying spatial resilience. J Appl Ecol 53:625–635. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12634

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Andersson E, Barthel S, Ahrné K (2007) Measuring social–ecological dynamics behind the generation of ecosystem services. Ecol Appl 17:1267–1278. https://doi.org/10.1890/06-1116.1

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Andersson E, Barthel S, Borgström S et al (2014) Reconnecting cities to the biosphere: stewardship of green infrastructure and urban ecosystem services. Ambio 43:445–453. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-014-0506-y

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Andersson E, McPhearson T, Kremer P et al (2015a) Scale and context dependence of ecosystem service providing units. Ecosyst Serv 12:157–164. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.08.001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Andersson E, Tengö M, McPhearson T, Kremer P (2015b) Cultural ecosystem services as a gateway for improving urban sustainability. Ecosyst Serv 12:165–168. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.08.002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Andersson E, Borgström S, McPhearson T (2017a) Double insurance in dealing with extremes: ecological and social factors for making nature-based solutions last. In: Kabisch N, Korn H, Stadler J, Bonn A (eds) Nature-based solutions to climate change adaptation in urban areas: linkages between science, policy and practice. Springer, Cham, pp 51–64

    Google Scholar 

  8. Andersson E, Enqvist J, Tengö M (2017b) Stewardship in urban landscapes. In: Bieling C, Plieninger T (eds) The science and practice of landscape stewardship. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 222–238

    Google Scholar 

  9. Arkema KK, Griffin R, Maldonado S et al (2017) Linking social, ecological, and physical science to advance natural and nature-based protection for coastal communities. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1399:5–26. https://doi.org/10.1111/nyas.13322

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Barthel S, Colding J, Elmqvist T, Folke C (2005) History and local management of a biodiversity-rich, urban, cultural landscape. Ecol Soc 10:10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Barthel S, Folke C, Colding J (2010) Social–ecological memory in urban gardens—retaining the capacity for management of ecosystem services. Glob Environ Chang 20:255–265. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.01.001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Benedict MA, McMahon ET (2002) Green infrastructure: smart conservation for the 21st century. Renew Resour J 20:12–17

    Google Scholar 

  13. Berkes F, Folke C (1998) Linking social and ecological systems: management practices and social mechanisms for building resilience. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

    Google Scholar 

  14. Berkes F, Folke C (2002) Back to the future: ecosystem dynamics and local knowledge. In: Gunderson L, Holling CS (eds) Panarchy: understanding transformations in human and natural systems. Island, Washington, pp 121–146

    Google Scholar 

  15. Biggs R, Schlüter M, Biggs D et al (2012) Toward principles for enhancing the resilience of ecosystem services. Annu Rev Environ Resour 37:421–448. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-051211-123836

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Buijs AE, Mattijssen TJ, Van der Jagt AP et al (2016) Active citizenship for urban green infrastructure: fostering the diversity and dynamics of citizen contributions through mosaic governance. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 22:1–6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2017.01.002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Cameron RWF, Blanuša T, Taylor JE et al (2012) The domestic garden—its contribution to urban green infrastructure. Urban For Urban Green 11:129–137. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2012.01.002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Colding J, Barthel S (2013) The potential of “urban green commons” in the resilience building of cities. Ecol Econ 86:156–166. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.10.016

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Cumming GS, Cumming DHM, Redman CL (2006) Scale mismatches in social–ecological systems: causes, consequences, and solutions. Ecol Soc 11:14

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Cumming GS, Allen CR, Ban NC et al (2015) Understanding protected area resilience: a multi-scale, social–ecological approach. Ecol Appl 25:299–319. https://doi.org/10.1890/13-2113.1

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Daily G (1997) Nature’s services. Island, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  22. Echols S, Pennypacker E (2008) From stormwater management to artful rainwater design. Landsc J 27:268–290

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Elmqvist T, Redman CL, Barthel S, Costanza R (2013) History of urbanization and the missing ecology. In: Elmqvist T, Fragkias M, Goodness J et al (eds) Urbanization, biodiversity and ecosystem services: challenges and opportunities. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 13–30

    Google Scholar 

  24. Ernstson H, Sörlin S (2009) Weaving protective stories: connective practices to articulate holistic values in the Stockholm National Urban Park. Environ Plan A 41:1460–1479

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Ernstson H, Sörlin S, Elmqvist T (2008) Social movements and ecosystem services—the role of social network structure in protecting and managing urban green areas in Stockholm. Ecol Soc 13:39

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Ernstson H, Barthel S, Andersson E, Borgström ST (2010) Scale-crossing brokers and network governance of urban ecosystem services: the case of Stockholm, Sweden. Ecol Soc 15:28

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Fazey I, Fazey JA, Fazey DMA (2005) Learning more effectively from experience. Ecol Soc 10:4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Firehock K (2010) A short history of the term green infrastructure and selected literature. http://www.gicinc.org/PDFs/GI%20History.pdf. Accessed 3 Oct 2017

  29. Folke C (2016) Resilience (republished). Ecol Soc 21:44

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Gomez-Baggethun EP, Gren Å, Barton DN et al (2013) Urban ecosystem services. In: Elmqvist T, Fragkias M, Goodness J et al (eds) Global urbanization, biodiversity, and ecosystems—challenges and opportunities cities and biodiversity outlook—scientific analyses and assessments. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 175–251

    Google Scholar 

  31. Grimm NB, Grove JM, Pickett STA, Redman CL (2000) Integrated approaches to long-term studies of urban ecological systems. Bioscience 50:571–583

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Guerrero AM, McAllister RRJ, Corcoran J, Wilson KA (2013) Scale mismatches, conservation planning, and the value of social–network analyses. Conserv Biol 27:35–44

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Gunderson LH, Holling CS (2002) Panarchy. Understanding transformations in human and natural systems. Island, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  34. Holling CS (1973) Resilience and stability of ecological systems. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 4:1–23

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Holling CS, Meffe GK (1996) Command and control and the pathology of natural resource management. Conserv Biol 10:328–337

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Holling CS, Gunderson LH, Peterson GD (2002) Sustainability and panarchies. In: Gunderson LH, Holling CS (eds) Panarchy. Understanding transformations in human and natural systems. Island, Washington, pp 63–102

    Google Scholar 

  37. Keskitalo ECH, Horstkotte T, Kivinen S et al (2016) “Generality of mis-fit”? The real-life difficulty of matching scales in an interconnected world. Ambio. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-015-0757-2

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  38. Mattijssen T, Buijs A, Elands B, Arts B (2017) The “green” and “self” in green self-governance—a study of 264 green space initiatives by citizens. J Environ Policy Plan 19:1–18

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. McPhearson T, Pickett STA, Grimm NB et al (2016) Advancing urban ecology toward a science of cities. Bioscience 66:198–212. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biw002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Mell IC (2008) Green infrastructure: concepts and planning. FORUM eJ 8:69–80

    Google Scholar 

  41. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) Living beyond our means: natural assets and human well-being. Island, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  42. Miller JR (2005) Biodiversity conservation and the extinction of experience. Trends Ecol Evol 20:430–434

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Nassauer JI, Wang Z, Dayrell E (2009) What will the neighbors think? Cultural norms and ecological design. Landsc Urban Plan 92:282–292. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2009.05.010

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. New York-Connecticut Sustainable Communities Consortium (2013) Coastal climate resilience: urban waterfront adaptive strategies. HUD Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant and the City of New York, New York

    Google Scholar 

  45. Niemelä J, Breuste JH, Guntenspergen G et al (2011) Urban ecology: patterns, processes, and applications. OUP, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  46. Olsson P, Folke C, Berkes F (2004) Adaptive comanagement for building resilience in social–ecological systems. Environ Manage 34:75–90

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  47. Ostrom E (1999) Coping with tragedies of the commons. Annu Rev Polit Sci 2:493–535

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Palomo I, Felipe-Lucia MR, Bennett EM et al (2016) Disentangling the pathways and effects of ecosystem service co-production. Adv Ecol Res 54:245–283

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Pataki DDE, Carreiro MMM, Cherrier J et al (2011) Coupling biogeochemical cycles in urban environments: ecosystem services, green solutions, and misconceptions. Front Ecol Environ 9:27–36. https://doi.org/10.1890/090220

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Pauleit S, Hansen R, Rall EL et al (2017) Urban landscapes and green infrastructure. Oxford research encyclopedia of environmental science. Interactive Factory, Boston

    Google Scholar 

  51. Pickett STA, Cadenasso ML, Grove JM et al (2001) Urban ecological systems: linking terrestrial ecological, physical, and socioeconomic components of metropolitan areas. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 32:127–157

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Pyle RM (1978) The extinction of experience. Horticulture 56:64–67

    Google Scholar 

  53. Rieb JT, Chaplin-Kramer R, Daily GC et al (2017) When, where, and how nature matters for ecosystem services: challenges for the next generation of ecosystem service models. Bioscience 3:1–7. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/bix075

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Searle G (2004) The limits to urban consolidation. Aust Plan 41:42–48

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Seto KC, Fragkias M, Güneralp B, Reilly MK (2011) A meta-analysis of global urban land expansion. PLoS One 6:e23777. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0023777

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  CAS  Google Scholar 

  56. Shuster WD, Morrison MA, Webb R (2008) Front-loading urban stormwater management for success—a perspective incorporating current studies on the implementation of retrofit low-impact development. Cities Environ 1:8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Sinclair P, Herschend F, Nordquist G, Isendahl C (eds) (2010) The urban mind: cultural and environmental dynamics. Studies in Global Archaeology 15. Uppsala University Press, Uppsala

    Google Scholar 

  58. Steffen W, Persson Å, Deutsch L et al (2011) The anthropocene: from global change to planetary stewardship. Ambio 40:739–761. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-011-0185-x

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  59. Tidball K, Stedman R (2013) Positive dependency and virtuous cycles: from resource dependence to resilience in urban social–ecological systems. Ecol Econ 86:292–299. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.10.004

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Tidball GK, Krasny EM, Svendsen E et al (2010) Stewardship, learning and memory in disaster resilience. Environ Learn Res 16:591–609

    Google Scholar 

  61. UN (2015) World urbanization prospects the 2014 revision. https://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/Publications/Files/WUP2014-Report.pdf. Accessed 26 Sept 2016

  62. Walker B, Salt D (2012) Resilience thinking: sustaining ecosystems and people in a changing world. Island, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  63. Wilkinson C, Sendstad M, Parnell S, Schewenius M (2013) Urban governance of biodiversity and ecosystem services BT—urbanization, biodiversity and ecosystem services: challenges and opportunities: a global assessment. In: Elmqvist T, Fragkias M, Goodness J et al (eds) Urbanization, biodiversity and ecosystem services: challenges and opportunities. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 539–587

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-ENV.2013.6.2-5-603567) and has benefitted from discussions with participating partners in the GREEN SURGE research project.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Erik Andersson.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Andersson, E. Functional landscapes in cities: a systems approach. Landscape Ecol Eng 14, 193–199 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11355-017-0346-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Green infrastructure
  • Social–ecological systems
  • Resilience
  • Scales
  • Governance
  • Perception