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Urban ecosystem services

Gomez-Baggethun, E., Å. Gren, D. Barton, T. McPhearson, P. O’Farrell, E. Andersson, Z. Hampstead, and P. Kremer. (2013) In: Elmqvist, T. et al. (eds.). Urbanization, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Challenges and Opportunities. Springer, New York, USA. Pp. 175-251.


We explore the potential of urban ecosystem services for improving resilience and quality of life in cities. First, we classify and categorize important ecosystem services and disservices in urban areas. Second, we describe a range of valuation approaches (cultural values, health benefi ts, economic costs, and resilience)for capturing the importance of urban ecosystem service multiple values. Finally, we analyze how ecosystem service assessment may inform urban planning and governance and provide practical examples from cities in Africa, Europe, and America. From our review, we fi nd that many urban ecosystem services have already been identifi ed, characterized and valued, and have been found to be of great value and importance for human well-being and urban resilience. We conclude that the use of the concept of urban ecosystem services can play a critical role in reconnecting cities to the biosphere, and reducing the ecological footprint and ecological debt of cities while enhancing resilience, health, and quality of life of their inhabitants.

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