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The potential of ‘Urban Green Commons’ in the resilience building of cities

Colding, J. and S. Barthel (2013). Ecological Economics 86:156–166.

Abstract:

While cultural diversity is increasing in cities at a global level as a result of urbanization, biodiversity is decreasing with a subsequent loss of ecosystem services. It is clear that diversity plays a pivotal role in the resilience building of ecosystems; however, it is less clear what role cultural diversity plays in the resilience building of urban systems. In this paper we provide innovative insights on howcommon property systems could contribute to urban resilience building. Through a review of recent findings on urban common property systems and the relevant literature, we deal with urban green commons (UGCs) and discuss their potential to manage cultural and biological diversity in cities. We describe three examples of UGCs, i.e. collectively managed parks, community gardens, and allotment areas, with a focus on their institutional characteristics, their role in promoting diverse learning streams, environmental stewardship, and social– ecological memory. We discuss how UGCs can facilitate cultural integration through civic participation in urban land-management, conditions for the emergence of UGCs, the importance of cognitive resilience building, and what role property-rights diversity plays in urban settings. We conclude by elucidating some key insights on how UGCs can promote urban resilience building.

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Keywords: Cultural diversity; Cognitive resilience building; Common property systems; Ecosystem services; Social–ecological memory; Urban systems.

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