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Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 481; doi:10.3390/su8050481

Synthesis of Household Yard Area Dynamics in the City of San Juan Using Multi-Scalar Social-Ecological Perspectives

Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus PO Box 70377 San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931-8377, USA
Graduate School of Planning, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus, PO Box 23354, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931-3354, USA
Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California, Lewis Hall 312, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626, USA
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University, 330 Bellamy Bldg., 113 Collegiate Loop, PO Box 3062280, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA
International Institute of Tropical Forestry, US Forest Service, Jardín Boánico Sur, 1201 Calle Ceiba, Río Piedras, Puerto Rico 00926-1119, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: William D. Shuster
Received: 20 January 2016 / Revised: 9 April 2016 / Accepted: 28 April 2016 / Published: 18 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4868 KB, uploaded 18 May 2016]   |  


Urban sustainability discourse promotes the increased use of green infrastructure (GI) because of its contribution of important ecosystem services to city dwellers. Under this vision, all urban green spaces, including those at the household scale, are valued for their potential contributions to a city’s social-ecological functioning and associated benefits for human well-being. Understanding how urban residential green spaces have evolved can help improve sustainable urban planning and design, but it requires examining urban processes occurring at multiple scales. The interaction between social structures and ecological structures within the subtropical city of San Juan, the capital and the largest city of Puerto Rico, has been an important focus of study of the San Juan ULTRA (Urban Long-Term Research Area) network, advancing understanding of the city’s vulnerabilities and potential adaptive capacity. Here we provide a synthesis of several social-ecological processes driving residential yard dynamics in the city of San Juan, Puerto Rico, through the evaluation of empirical findings related to yard management decisions, yard area, and yard services. We emphasize the role of factors occurring at the household scale. Results are discussed within the context of shrinking cities using an integrated, multi-scalar, social-ecological systems framework, and consider the implications of household green infrastructure for advancing urban sustainability theory. View Full-Text
Keywords: household yards; social ecological systems; green infrastructure (GI); sustainability; shrinking cities; ecosystem services household yards; social ecological systems; green infrastructure (GI); sustainability; shrinking cities; ecosystem services

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Meléndez-Ackerman, E.J.; Nytch, C.J.; Santiago-Acevedo, L.E.; Verdejo-Ortiz, J.C.; Santiago-Bartolomei, R.; Ramos-Santiago, L.E.; Muñoz-Erickson, T.A. Synthesis of Household Yard Area Dynamics in the City of San Juan Using Multi-Scalar Social-Ecological Perspectives. Sustainability 2016, 8, 481.

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