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Open AccessArticle

Asset or Liability? Ecological and Sociological Tradeoffs of Urban Spontaneous Vegetation on Vacant Land in Shrinking Cities

1
Department of Entomology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
2
School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2139; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072139
Received: 16 May 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 14 June 2018 / Published: 22 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
The increase of minimally managed vacant land resulting from population loss and the subsequent removal of infrastructure is a reoccurring feature in shrinking cities around the globe. Due to the low frequency and intensity of management, these spaces create a unique environment for plant colonization, establishment, and succession. Herein we refer to these plants and the habitats they form as urban spontaneous vegetation (USV). As a form of urban green space, USV has the potential to provide a number of ecological and sociological benefits to shrinking cities, such as supporting urban wildlife, enhancing the provision of regulating ecosystem functions and services, connecting residents with nature, and improving human health and well-being. Conversely, USV can also support undesirable animals such as vectors of disease, and due to its wild and disorderly appearance, can evoke negative emotions in residents while signaling community neglect. This review aims to explore the potential ecological and sociological tradeoffs of USV within the context of shrinking cities. Through this evaluation, we aim to inform future planning and management to exploit the benefits offered by this resource while minimizing negative outcomes, thereby leading to the enhanced sustainability of shrinking cities worldwide. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity; brownfield; conservation; informal green space; insect; novel ecosystem; wasteland; wildlife biodiversity; brownfield; conservation; informal green space; insect; novel ecosystem; wasteland; wildlife
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MDPI and ACS Style

Riley, C.B.; Perry, K.I.; Ard, K.; Gardiner, M.M. Asset or Liability? Ecological and Sociological Tradeoffs of Urban Spontaneous Vegetation on Vacant Land in Shrinking Cities. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2139. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072139

AMA Style

Riley CB, Perry KI, Ard K, Gardiner MM. Asset or Liability? Ecological and Sociological Tradeoffs of Urban Spontaneous Vegetation on Vacant Land in Shrinking Cities. Sustainability. 2018; 10(7):2139. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072139

Chicago/Turabian Style

Riley, Christopher B.; Perry, Kayla I.; Ard, Kerry; Gardiner, Mary M. 2018. "Asset or Liability? Ecological and Sociological Tradeoffs of Urban Spontaneous Vegetation on Vacant Land in Shrinking Cities" Sustainability 10, no. 7: 2139. https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072139

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