Reply To: 25.5 May – Reflections

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Peter # Posted on May 25, 2015 at 15:09

Reflections on Actors, Networks and Resilience in Urban Landscapes

Finding out how urban ecosystems generate ecosystem services for urban people is certainly a worthwhile pursuit, especially with the global urbanization trend continuing. As is finding out which actors in the urban environment gets to enjoy the benefits of ecosystem services.

The term ecosystem service is I believe somewhat problematic. The term is, as we discussed at the seminar, a buzzword that is widely used in many different settings today. This may of course cloud how different people perceive its meaning and use. Also, as Ernstson mentions, the term points to the field of economics and perhaps attempts to economize nature. However, I believe that it is in many ways a necessary collaboration between these fields. The price (or value) of ecosystem services is steadily increasing and it is important that governance are aware of this in order to prevent environmental justice and inequality issues. As we discussed at the seminar urban areas with good access to nature is coming at a premium today. In earlier decades Sweden, as a welfare state, made a point to build affordable urban housing with good access to nature. As cities are growing in population, and expanding geographically outward, there is a larger incentive to award these areas to those who can afford to pay a premium. This puts extra pressure on governance to make decisions that works proactively for the common good. If urban areas are to remain heterogenic, and cater for all, it is important that urban ecosystem planning is done in a enlightened, transparent and collaborative way. I agree with Ernstson who argues that governance would benefit from having a deeper engagement with urban political ecology and critical geography.

Ernstson´s thesis argues that natural resource management is not just about knowledge but also about values. Values certainly influences land use and management prioritization and the strategies proposed by Ernstson I believe are helpful to improve urban ecosystems management. His suggested framework for how to analyse issues of power and equity in relation to natural resource management is also necessary if we are to utilize urban ecosystems in a way that promotes are common good.