Next Article in Journal
The Contribution of Local Agents and Citizens to Sustainable Development: The Portuguese Experience
Next Article in Special Issue
Opportunities and Challenges for the Creation and Governance of Productive Landscapes in Urban Transformations: The Case of Klosterøya Urban Fruit Forest Park
Previous Article in Journal
Adoption and Growth of Fuel Cell Vehicles in China: The Case of BYD
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

From Participation to Involvement in Urban Open Space Management and Maintenance

School of Bioeconomy, Landscape Design and Construction, Häme University of Applied Sciences, Lepaantie 129, 14610 Lepaa, Finland
HAMK Bio Research Unit, Häme University of Applied Sciences, Lepaantie 129, 14610 Lepaa, Finland
Sustainability Science, LUT University, 53851 Lappeenranta, Finland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12697;
Submission received: 31 August 2022 / Revised: 29 September 2022 / Accepted: 3 October 2022 / Published: 6 October 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Open Space Governance and Management)


Urban open spaces (UOS) provide an everyday environment for residents to experience nature. However, the management of UOS—from zoning to construction and maintenance—tends to follow efficient and straight-forward processes lacking use of residents’ experiences. This study first collected the views of management professionals on how participation can best benefit management of UOS. Second, a survey used biodiversity as a case to clarify how the ongoing changes in urban biotopes challenge conventional management of UOS. The results showed that especially in the maintenance phase of current UOS management there is potential to further involve residents in a continuous dialogue and activities to account for local perceptions, including residents’ sensing and emotions raised by UOS. Such involvement may facilitate positive human-nature relations but may require new modes of interaction. We thus propose such adaptive management to foster residents’ contribution to sustainability transition.

1. Introduction

Human beings’ relationship with nature needs to change to mitigate and adapt to current and forthcoming global environmental changes such as climate change and the loss of biodiversity. Contemporary ways of using land and building on it, as well as the exploitation of the environment, struggle to meet the criteria, methods, and measurements [1,2] for sustainability. A sustainability transition requires that people understand the necessity of nature for humans. Even though the aforementioned environmental changes are global, people’s perceptions of the environment tend to be formulated locally. Place-related experiences in cities may engage residents and become influential in transitions, and local user knowledge can be applied on larger scales [3,4].
Cities are thus platforms for studying spatial and temporal changes [5]. Elmqvist and others [6] considered cities as a field to explore the barriers and drivers of such sustainability transitions. In practice, urban environments—between the continual construction of new dwellings and the preservation of open land for the remnants of habitats and new parks—have been under increasing pressure. The pressure to find a balance between dwellings and urban nature constitutes a challenge in the relationship between humanity and nature.
Urban nature is a constantly evolving socio-ecological system in which the social dimension builds on planning priorities, management, maintenance, and use, and the ecological dimension consists of the entity of urban green, including naturally developed, man-made, and building-integrated habitats. Spatially, urban nature includes all biophysical elements that are green and growing, as well as the cycles of water, nutrients, and carbon that enable this growth. Urban nature as a socio-ecological system is thus subject to constant, unpredictable change, which is governed not only by changing use but also according to predetermined maintenance practices. Aronson and others [7] claimed that the management of urban green spaces is one of the most important factors for conserving urban biodiversity. Therefore, the management of urban nature constitutes a practical case to study socio-ecological interaction, in which continual adaptation of policies and practices must be balanced between the continual changes in biophysical elements and urban life.
Urban open spaces (UOS) as urban nature comprise vegetated green areas, known as urban green, and additionally hard surfaces, water elements, and brown areas for spontaneous vegetation and use [8]. As publicly accessible sites, they are sources of recreation due to the nature experiences they provide, the different services they offer, and the social environment they constitute; furthermore, their impact on psychological and physical health has increasingly been acknowledged [9,10,11]. UOS also yield indirect benefits such as improved air quality and noise reduction [12], and at best, carbon sinks. The UOS and the component of urban green can thus be seen as the biophysical platform that may provide multiple ecosystem services if functioning well enough [13]. However, anthropogenic approaches that cite the benefits of UOS may override the needs for urban biodiversity. Therefore, the promotion of biodiversity needs to be fostered to enhance the wellbeing of both urban ecosystems and humans which requires adaptiveness and can be shaped by human beings [14]; this fact should challenge the management of UOS to be open to learn and benefit from various reflections and measurements [15] to ultimately make changes.
Adaptiveness also concerns participatory processes or methods which enable residents’ involvement to impact sustainability transitions. Public involvement tends to follow different patterns of organised and non-organised activities [16], which generates interactive dialogues or actions and convey local and place-based perceptions to management. Perceptions imply self-reported quality of life as far as it relates to benefits of UOS [17]. Residents’ perceptions of the management of UOS can be combined with other types of information [16]; however, individuals’ sensory perceptions are essential to recognising intangible and tangible values and local characteristics [18]. The management of UOS is led by authorities, is based on long-term planning, and addresses changes over the course of time. Nevertheless, how such goals can benefit from the management’s involvement (i.e., how management can utilise local perceptions and resources) has not been explored in efforts to foster sustainability transitions in cities. Therefore, professionals’ attitudes and views need to be understood when framing how residents’ involvement could be integrated into the overall management of UOS.
This paper aims to clarify how the management of UOS could benefit from residents’ involvement in current and accelerating changes in UOS. The pursuit of efficiency has resulted in several management theories to streamline processes, some of which have been adopted in the field of UOS management. Simultaneously, understanding management and maintenance related to the practices of UOS can play a key role in facilitating residents’ involvement. However, participation can take different forms and consist of objectives in different phases of UOS management. This serves as a basis for our research questions (RQ): (RQ1) How are residents’ perceptions currently accounted for in UOS management? (RQ2) What are potential ways to improve UOS management to better consider residents’ perceptions, and how can these ways best be implemented?

2. Theoretical Framework

2.1. Management of Urban Open Spaces

The management of UOS, as a part of green infrastructure, has roots in regional and local policies and strategies in the European Union. The phases of managing UOS that we now describe are bound partly to land use planning and partly to the strategies of multiscale approaches to achieve environmental and economic benefits [4]. Spatial planning of UOS includes initial urban planning zoning, which integrates large-scale strategies to foster decisions in the subsequent process. The scoping phase precedes the objective-setting phase, before leading into the phase of general planning. When the construction and adjoining design phase are not required, site development and maintenance may start immediately after general planning (Figure 1). In this process, public participation is regulated by the government during the planning phase but may also take place in municipality-specific forms, allowing for the contribution of different kinds of information. In order to formulate a strategy of UOS, the analytical part is managed by databased information and the action part makes use of local monitoring systems [19], which can be applied to the management of UOS. Nauman and others [20] determined the enabling factors of a successful UOS management process, emphasising the relevance of each phase, which also requires the management of biodiversity at multiple scales [4]. Consequently, this process for the management of UOS shows the official steps but does not indicate the participatory methods within the process.

2.2. Management Concepts

Management is generally used as a concept in both the public and private sectors [21,22], but management theory tends to describe several more detailed approaches on how to manage effective productions and efficient operations [23,24]. Management theory stresses the choice of appropriate tools for varying situations and organisational conditions and contains ideas about the efficiency of production, business, and innovation activities in the fields of economics and engineering. The ideas of management theory have been applied to all professional fields and organisation types.
Public management has had a different development trajectory than management in the private sector and has been influenced by societal changes. At the macro level, external changes relate to international and national issues, as well as organisations of public institutions, while the micro level is comprised of the development of tools and practices [25,26]. In the late twentieth century, the privatisation and outsourcing of private markets led public management to pursue efficiency by learning from the private sector. Then, the prevailing international state of management, public value management [27] was renewed and led to the use of the concept of governance [26] to describe, in addition to government actions, more flexible methods of governing with different stakeholders. This change blurred the boundaries between different sectors, especially those between the larger public, private, and voluntary sectors.
Dynamic management aims to respond to situations predictively and may fit well with the needs of maintenance of UOS in a way that preserves and sustains urban nature. However, the maintenance of UOS is based on estimations of use that combines different elements into an understanding of overall performance [28]. Such estimation of use follows instructions and standards, which also form the basis for assessments. Thus, maintenance is not a stationary stage but can be improved to bring about acceptable conditions and preserve the value of UOS.
UOS differ from private management due to the complexity of the goals for such spaces [25,29]—they not only concern physical places, but also social environments. The local context seems to be the premise for understanding such systems. Dempsey and Burton [29] defined UOS as a product which requires long-term place-keeping, thereby transforming it through place-making by users. The relationship between place and ongoing local processes also enables adaptiveness and recognition of different local coalitions, grassroot-level actors, and niches’ potential to react to changes in natural systems [15]. The benefits of complexity in an adaptive approach have been acknowledged in environmental and ecosystem management since 1970 [30]; this approach was later adopted by the field of forestry as a process of policies and practices which continually develop through learning outcomes [31]. Adaptive management has not yet been applied in UOS because promoting biodiversity has not been the central focus of UOS management, and due to outsourcing, contracts often determine the allocation of resources.
Participatory democracy is related to public administrations (i.e., government utilises policy-oriented initiatives in governing UOS), whereas governance implements democracy and participation through practical cases in UOS. The governance of UOS involves collaboration with “government or non-government actors” based on negotiated rules [8] and can be independently driven or done through organisations. Governance acknowledges the significant diversity of participatory approaches [32] and can be established customs with third-sector and self-guided fourth-sector stakeholders [33], who serve as not only a resource but also long-term collaborators in terms of vision, decision-making, and power use [8].
Governance as participatory actions has not been defined in UOS management. We determined three prevailing approaches of management (labelled A, B, and C) to explore participation (Figure 2). The management of obligatory participation (Approach A) covers participation democracy in land use planning based on legislation in many countries [34,35] that have implemented bottom-up planning. The strategic management of UOS (Approach B) combines all phases from urban planning zoning to maintenance on the strategic, tactical, and operational levels [36,37]. The third approach defines the management of maintenance (Approach C) an ongoing maintenance which also considers the meaning of place-making and place-keeping [29].
The organisations which are responsible for the management of UOS have to develop expertise in terms of what the goals are for contemporary UOS. Recently, sustainability has become a key objective in UOS management [38] aiming to provide a balanced approach to ecological, economic, and social dimensions. Bennett and others [39] highlighted the two-fold nature of sustainability, as it contributes to both ecosystems and citizens’ wellbeing. The nature of municipal authorities may include the expertise of the ecological and economic dimensions, but the basis for social sustainability requires knowledge about residents and their needs, expectations, and values. As a concept, urban nature is not precise enough to be used in the management of UOS because it is important to understand land ownership and maintenance responsibilities in different parts of urban areas. In addition, management concerns not only vegetated areas but also hard surfaces, such as paving and decking, and infrastructural outdoor systems related to, for example, drainage and electricity. The management of UOS includes maintenance works involving “grey” urban structures, such as stormwater management and cleaning, and works of “green” urban structures, such as cutting, fertilising, and irrigation, many of them organised and targeted differently than a decade ago.
Management guidelines and maintenance standards have often been adjusted to implement objectives and allocate resources in UOS. Therefore, these also convey the role of residents and how the role has been determined for management and maintenance in the twentieth century. Sustainable strategies have resulted in specific guidelines concerning UOS acknowledging residents’ participation in management and involvement in maintenance [40,41,42]. However, maintenance standards [43,44] may determine the role of residents as service benefiter. In the UK, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment provided guidelines and programmes for site-specific management and maintenance planning. One such programme, the Green Flag Award scheme [45], recognises community participation as a part of the management planning process, which fundamentally relies on the involvement of individual residents in maintenance.
Consequently, the maintenance phase has the potential to enlarge residents’ participation to respond to current changes of urban ecosystems. Guidelines and strategies may change over time according to prevailing policies, such as preferring outsourcing or stressing biodiversity. Thus, the aim of supporting a well-functioning socio-ecological system presents challenges in the role of residents in various areas—from strategies to maintenance. Since maintenance standards do not just include strategic actions, additional management of maintenance fosters residents’ participation in appropriate long-term operational maintenance.

2.3. From Participation to Involvement

Public participation is regulated by law to ensure democratic practices, and its development has led to different modes of actions [46] in different fields. Since 1990, the Pillars for Effective Public Participation have been defined by International Association for Public Participation [47] with regard to development and implementation processes to advocate participation [47,48]. The concept is partly based on Sherry Arnstein’s article “A Ladder of Citizens Participation” [49], which described the influence of participation through ladders and their rungs in the three main categories of non-participation, tokenism, and citizen power. These categories are comprised of eight subthemes which suggest that real participation is citizen control, whereas manipulation is the form on the other end of the spectrum [46,49]. This thinking was based on the notions that an organisation leads the process of participation and that the impact of participation increases linearly. The concept was also applied in additional studies [32,46,50] which also defined the form of participation and the role of the organisation as being a leader or an enabler.
The outcomes of participation depend on the methods used, and often, information gained from residents replaces deep participation in the cost-efficient management of UOS. Inquiries, surveys, and data-based feedback (i.e., parallel channels) enable user knowledge but do not ensure understandings of perceptions, which refer to place-related knowledge, including emotions and senses [51]. Thus, involvement realised in interaction as activities or as a direct voice in dialogues allows for the understanding of perceptions and the formulation of responses to residents’ aspirations [32,52,53]. Involvement also refers to ongoing processes which aim to achieve outcomes not only restricted to public decision-making but also based on long-term collaboration [54].
The choice of participation methods not only defines the type of information a municipality receives but also frames the perceptions of residents. The continual, dynamic transformation of the urban environment is a driver [55] that may transform residents from one-time participants into ongoing participants. Therefore, involving residents has the potential to incorporate them into regular governance; only permanent practices may be lacking. The triangle of the physical place, the users, and the organization [36,37] is the basis for the involvement in UOS; however, collaboration requires strategies and measures [52].
Recently, the importance of participation has increased. Urban densification has challenged planning processes, causing some to combine more functions in even smaller spaces. Simultaneously, the importance of UOS for residents and residents’ interest in participation has increased. In addition, urban environments are constantly changing, and participation applies not only to the design phase but also to phases of use. Residents’ roles have also shifted during the past 60 years from being voters to becoming co-creators [56], a phenomenon which is seen as important to cope with accelerating changes. Public participation represents an element of democracy, and in some cases, it is required by legislation, but in any case, participation transforms residents into stakeholders in UOS management and involvement in a continuous dialogue, and activities strengthen the potential benefits.

2.4. Management of Urban Biodiversity

Urban biodiversity is often more diverse than initially assumed [7,57]. The diversity of genes, taxonomies, and habitats, as well as different steps of succession, can be seen in the various and abundant habitats of the urban environment. In urban contexts, all habitats are affected by humans as they use, develop, and maintain the areas. Nilon [58] described urban biodiversity as an equal and continuously changing output of the ecosystem and the social system. The governance and management of urban biodiversity involves several professional fields; to improve their dialogue, a compact definition of biodiversity has been introduced for use by multi-professional working groups such as Werner and Zahner [59], who defined biodiversity as “the animals and plants living within the settled areas of a city”. Urban ecology, conservation biology, urban planning, and engineering see urban biodiversity from different perspectives. Their discussions can thus focus on an ecological network for population dynamics that works on keeping the size and shape of the areas as natural as possible, on the connections built from UOS, on the residents’ equal opportunity to achieve multi-species green environments, on the technical feasibility of green roof structures, or on the construction of suitable habitat for meadow vegetation.
Urban habitats are formed and modified during the implementation process of UOS. First, urban planning defines how a development might be located on landscape structure, which areas of pre-construction biotopes are to be preserved, and where to build new ones. Zoning stipulates how and where urban green penetrates other land uses and what the role of vegetation is in different land uses. Then, design and construction determine soil preparations, properties of growing media, and vegetation selection for new biotopes that may (or may not) provide habitats for fauna. In the last phase of the UOS management (i.e., the maintenance stage), both naturally developed and constructed biotopes are managed according to people’s needs, general guidelines, and established techniques. The maintenance phase is the longest-lasting phase of the implementation process and has been seen as the essential one that affects urban biodiversity [58]. The practices in the maintenance phase have inevitably a strong, either positive or negative, effect on biodiversity.
According to Nilon [58], two different approaches to the management of urban biodiversity have been developed based on different origins: biodiversity management and biodiversity conservation. Conservation originates from the applied field of conservation biology, concentrating on rare species. Management, in turn, is based on the field of natural resource management and focuses on single species with ecological, social, or economic value. The difference between these two perspectives is essential for urban planning and the minimum areas in, for example, ecological corridors. Which mammals should ecological corridors be sized for? Are moose desired in city centres? Although the design phase defines the areas of green spaces, the maintenance phase also plays a key role in determining their qualities. In addition, biodiversity benefits both the stable and the transient diversity in urban areas. The transient land-uses provide a place for seminatural habitats, secondary succession, ruderal, pioneer environments, and open areas [60,61]. Urban biodiversity is therefore based on the spectrum of different kind of areas, not only to well-kept central parks. In addition, the management of urban biodiversity also requires recognition of the differences between species that are urban avoiders, urban utilisers, and urban dwellers, as Sandoval [62] stated.
Recent research on the relationship between urban biodiversity and resident has followed three approaches. First, residents’ general attitudes towards diversity have been investigated through acceptability studies [63]. Second, studies have examined residents’ activities benefiting biodiversity not only in decision-making or planning but also in gardening or as civic activity [64,65]. Studies that have followed the third approach focus on human wellbeing and health [66,67,68]. These tree research approaches also clarify the set of participation methods used in UOS.
The development of urban biodiversity can also be interpreted as a system that combines residents, the biophysical environment, and growth-supporting processes such as water, carbon, and nutrient cycles. The system approach to management stresses the complexity and dynamic nature of a system and requires more interactive and adaptive management as feedback is not completely predictable [69,70]. The fostering of the system, however, requires maintenance practices that are flexible in time and place and can adapt according to the commitment of the residents. In particular, public UOS could benefit from system-based and adaptive maintenance in public areas and offer solutions that connect residents and biodiversity. Public UOS tend to cover a large part of the city surface, provide commons for residents, and are often managed by one responsible authority according to one operating model.

3. Materials and Methods

3.1. Data Collection

The qualitative data for this study were collected in 2018 and 2021 in Finland. The workshop 2018 was used to collect empirical data for recognising professionals’ opinions about public participation of the management of UOS. The survey was conducted in 2021 to complement understanding of UOS management in terms of anticipated changes. In the survey we adopted an instrumental case study approach using biodiversity-friendly management as a case, where qualitative exploration was applied to understand beyond the case [71]. Further, the case was utilised in an explanatory manner, i.e., for enlightening causal relations and mechanisms rather than merely for illustration.
In 2018, a three-hour workshop was organised for management professionals as a pre-seminar of an annual conference in Finland. An invitation was sent to all members of the Finnish Association of Landscape Industries in an e-newsletter. The workshop was chosen as a research method because it offered authentic collaboration related to participants’ interests and produced data about the phenomenon under investigation [72]. We structured the workshop into the following phases: (1) introduction, (2) discussion, and (3) evaluation. A paper canvas measuring 300 cm × 125 cm was the working material. The management of UOS was presented on the canvas, including strategic, tactical, and operational phases. Two of the authors facilitated a group discussion, which is a suitable research method to generate different opinions to be discussed [73]. The final outcomes were written notes of unlimited quantity.
The task was to discuss at which phases of UOS management user knowledge could be utilised and what kind of user knowledge the participants recognised. User knowledge is used for gained knowledge about and from customers in many fields [74,75]. In this study it was used as a general term, not being directive to the concepts of participation or involvement. The 16 participants all worked as professionals in the field of UOS both in public (n = 11) and private (n = 5) sectors. They were asked to mark the sectors of UOS management which they connected to the strategic, tactical, and operational management phases. Additionally, the section regarding user knowledge was divided into two parts—actual user knowledge and potential user knowledge—to which they added their discussed opinions. Figure 3 shows the content of the workshop canvas with all notes added and translated into English. The participants were familiar with the management of UOS, having an understanding about how user knowledge is related to the different phases and how it can be utilised for strategic, tactical, and operational purposes. The method provides a comprehensive understanding about the contemporary UOS management and the related user knowledge.
The Likert scale survey enabled to measure the differences between attitudes [76]. The extreme ends represent the opposite stands, but do not require to choose only the negative or the positive preferences. Therefore, each statement describes the strength of the attitudes, perceptions, or opinions. We used a Likert survey [77] which included four statements leaving out an alternative for the opinion “I cannot say”. The themes of the survey reflected to the respondents’ everyday responsibilities in the professional field. When drafting the questions, it was assumed that the respondents were able to answer the questions, and that is why the answer scale was used from 1 to 4. The four statements were (1) strongly agree, (2) somewhat agree, (3) somewhat disagree, and (4) strongly disagree.
The survey was sent via e-mail to the members of the Association of Park Managers, as they represent full-time administrators responsible for UOS in municipalities and also form an active nationwide network in Finland. The two main themes of the survey were (1) management and (2) residents and communities as stakeholders, both related to contemporary practices to increase biodiversity in UOS. The estimation time to complete the survey was 10–15 min in order to receive a good quantity of responses.
The survey provided 44 responses from the members of the Association of the Parks Managers (n = 127). The average years of work experience in UOS management was 25.7 and varied between 5 to 41 years. Years of work experience included possible practical maintenance work at the beginning of their careers, but mainly involved years working on the management of maintenance staff or in responsibilities in city-level UOS management. The survey was an efficient method to reach the professionals widely in Finland. Due to the anonymity of the survey respondents, it is not known if part or all of the 16 workshop participants were among the 44 participants of the survey.

3.2. Data Analysis

The operationalisation of the key concepts shows the definitions and the indicators for this study (Figure 4). The first analyses focused on participation versus involvement. The workshop data were transcripted and thereafter coded using the indicators. Then, the phases of strategic management were interpreted based on the indicators and combined with the previous analyses to answer the following operationalised research questions: (1) How are involvement and perceptions currently accounted for in UOS management? (RQ1) and (2) What are potential ways to better involve residents, also at the maintenance phase? (RQ2). Then, the management of UOS was explored through the lens of biodiversity to convey changes and answer the RQ2. The indicators were cyclic processes supporting growth and abundant plant species in UOS, which were indicated in the survey.
The second and the third steps included two more analyses. Next, the results were combined to the phases of strategic management of UOS as they were recorded in the workshop data. The survey was collected as visual data to show the comparability in which participation was reflected to the phases of UOS management and biodiversity.
A deductive content analysis [78] was conducted to classify expressions of participation and involvement in the data. Participation includes all user knowledge, and therefore the indicators for participation excluding involvement and involvement were determined from the transcription material. First, involvement consists of regular activities or interactive dialogue and the indicators convey localness. Secondly, the methods of capturing participation excluding involvement do not enable interaction. Then, involvement was coded. The moderate involvement comprised local knowledge which refers to involvement, however the interactivity cannot be confirmed (e.g., “narratives about an area”). The activity and dialogues were ensured in the category of strong involvement (e.g., “joint debate about maintenance”, participating in management projects”). Both categories of involvement thus enable perceptions (Figure 5).

4. Results

4.1. Participation and Involvement

Strong involvement was ascertained to belong to the maintenance phase with the potential to increase involvement. Moderate involvement was ascertained to belong to the strategic and tactical phases of UOS management in the following way: actual moderate involvement in urban planning and scoping corresponded to the phases of object-setting, general planning, and design related to the potential. Additionally, the construction phase did not indicate any participation (Figure 6).
The strategic phases utilised both approaches of participation, excluding involvement and involvement. The tactical phases, along with the strategic phases, were related to the object-setting and general planning phases. Additionally, in the general planning phase, operational actions were reported to also benefit from involvement. The operational phases were considered the action phases, incorporating mostly participation excluding involvement, moderate involvement, or non-participation; however, the maintenance phase involved strong involvement and potential strong involvement.

4.2. Participation and Continual Change in Biodiversity-Friendly Management

The results of the survey indicated the influence of different actors promoting biodiversity in the implementation process of UOS (Figure 7). Local politicians may be involved the decision-making phases concerning the zoning, initiation, and object-setting phases. Three other groups—authorities, designers, or planners of maintenance, and maintenance staff—are responsible at different phases of the implementation process: authorities are responsible for UOS throughout all phases; designers of UOS or of maintenance are responsible from land use to design and additionally maintenance staff are actors in the maintenance. The fourth group—residents and communities—consists of public participants contributing to user knowledge. The question related to promoting biodiversity demonstrated that this practice represents a divergence from routine maintenance and elicited understanding about which group could influence the needed approach most. Those with the greatest potential to influence the approach to UOS management were authorities and UOS professionals. Residents and politicians had a somewhat similar level of influence; however, politicians were seen as influential in the planning part of the management process.
The results of the survey revealed the attitudes of UOS professionals. They considered the residents’ willingness to accept different biodiversity-friendly solutions to vary greatly (Figure 8). At the time of the survey, stormwater management had been widely and generally discussed in Finland, and sustainable stormwater management structures had been somewhat widely implemented. Respondents thus felt that the residents most readily accepted these structures. However, decaying material or turning lawns into meadows, both of which were presented as other solutions that support biodiversity, were not perceived as generally accepted by the residents. According to the respondents, resident participation is better incorporated into the design phase than into the maintenance phase.
Respondents believed that continual change related to biodiversity is challenging to present in design documents, which are generally used to describe how construction is implemented (Figure 9). According to the respondents, designs better represent changes in individual elements than changes in the processes that support growth. However, the presentation of ageing is seen more often as a shortcoming than as a standard solution in designs.
The respondents saw the residents’ experiences as important as the starting point for planning but did not see the residents proposing direct solutions to biodiversity-friendly solutions as often (Figure 10). The residents’ role is therefore to be acceptor. The results of participation are generally seen as important, as it supports residents’ acceptance and increases residents’ knowledge of biodiversity-friendly solutions. In addition, biodiversity and information about it were seen as increasing residents’ perceptions of the importance of a place.

5. Discussion

This paper defined the state-of-the-art of participation in UOS management and mapped out the possibilities for more effectively incorporating residents’ perceptions as an integral part of UOS management. The key findings showed both willingness and room for resident involvement in all other phases of UOS management, except in the construction phase. The appearance of strong involvement in the maintenance phase holds potential for practical local management. However, biodiversity-friendly solutions, reflecting change in UOS, showed that the professionals from all phases of UOS management have a greater influence than politicians and residents in promoting biodiversity-friendly solutions. Participation and informing residents can foster their acceptance about biodiversity solutions, knowledge about nature and place. At the same time, it was stressed that changes in UOS over time are difficult to present in designs.

5.1. Adaptive Management of Maintenance for Strong Involvement

The results expressed moderate involvement simultaneously for strategic and tactical phases (i.e., the object-setting and general planning phases). One plausible explanation for this is that UOS are different: for example, for natural areas and forests in urban environments, the general planning phase benefits from operational planning. Moreover, the general planning and design phases were recognised to contribute knowledge to tactical and operational actions, indicating that they may soon be implemented.
The results indicated that strong involvement, as represented by activities and dialogues, takes place locally. Place-related activities enable human–nature interaction in individual experiences and serve as the basis for perceptions. Therefore, the management of the maintenance phase requires long-term planning, appropriate resources, and well-formulated aims to facilitate involvement-building. In this case, maintenance cannot be limited to operational and annual standard maintenance practices.
Based on the results, we propose a model of adaptive management of maintenance (AMM) to describe the significance of place-related decision-making along a site’s life cycle (Figure 11). The model stresses the continuous fluxes in socio-ecological systems and expects organisations to have resources to adapt to both changing conditions and out-comes of continual participation. The AMM is continuous and is comprised of site-specific re-planning, re-reconstruction, and re-maintenance; additionally, renovation is characterised by a profound reconsideration of the site in the context of urban green space networks. In the model, residents have a potentially active role in improving the site’s conditions through, for example, developing, monitoring, and maintaining it. Furthermore, management activities may provide meaning and quality of life, as proposed by Campbell [79].

5.2. Involvement as a Vehicle for Sustainability in a Changing Environment

Studying management professionals’ attitudes towards involvement in changing urban environments reveals the potential for more accurate recognition of local perceptions. Moderate and strong involvement may indicate local perceptions; however, tools or methods for capturing such perceptions were not discussed by the managers. In an effort to identify perceptions, local involvement may foster residents’ knowledge about and attitudes towards sustainable behaviour [80]. This emphasises the importance of methods that provide place-related emotions and experiences in nature beyond one-way feedback methods to current UOS management. In addition, digital and geographical information system-based participation may facilitate learning outcomes and increase perceived place-based knowledge [81].
When considering the general outcomes of the workshop and survey in this study, the results of the workshop underlined the potential of involvement, but the results of the survey were not aligned. The general acceptance of involvement may describe the aim and idea of participation in theory rather than actual current practices. This prompts the question of whether participation and involvement are, after all, distinguished in UOS management practices. Biodiversity-friendly solutions were understood mainly as expert- or authority-led know-how, especially in the design and maintenance phases. This approach supports the preservation of top-down management. Nevertheless, residents’ perceptions can enhance knowledge of such solutions; therefore, biodiversity-friendly solutions—once they become a more common discussion in society—can be a vehicle to promote more sustainable thinking in general.
The planning and design phases have been the conventional phases in which resident participation is incorporated, but the current demand for new ways to slow down the loss of biodiversity has opened up an avenue for action-based participation and strong involvement on a local level. The significance of involvement on a local level can become evident, specifically in urban contexts, where a single authority may manage several areas occupied by numerous residents. Up to now, this has only been a potential avenue, as authorities have primarily only considered the potential of resident participation as a primer for solutions. However, residents’ participation in local biodiversity management may lead to further involvement [82,83] than the design-phase participation has allowed for.

5.3. Reliability of the Findings

This study involved a workshop for professionals of different backgrounds in the field. Additionally, a survey was conducted to elicit information from managers of different organisations and municipalities. The study would not have been enriched significantly with a greater number of participants because the workshop data consisted of ideas from discussions, and the survey’s sample covered several municipalities in Finland and included members of the Association for Park Managers. The workshop was considered an appropriate method for initially mapping attitudes and determining both the use and potential of user knowledge. The data build on the notes from the workshop discussion and include the typical limitations of workshops. Therefore, a triangulation of the analysis was conducted by two authors.
The individual responses to the survey independently supplemented the findings in the workshop three years later. The workshop data were analysed for the first time after the workshop by one researcher and then again as part of this study by two separate researchers. However, changes often occur quickly, and new studies may be required to combine understandings of contemporary practices and unpredictable changes concerning UOS and UOS management.

6. Conclusions

Conventional UOS management needs to shift towards more adaptive practices if its aim is to enhance socio-ecological interactions and solutions for sustainability transitions. Cost-efficient management may result in outsourced contracts that allow for limited timeframes for operational maintenance, which includes practices such as clipping, mowing, pruning, and cleaning; additionally, it may make residents mere objects in their everyday living environment. According to AMM, residents are instead seen as active contributors to maintenance. They partially offer labour in operational maintenance, but, simultaneously, their local knowledge is valued, collected, and used for further operations. Furthermore, acknowledging in-depth experiences and emotions requires creative methods [84,85].
The management professionals recognise the potential of participation in UOS but seem not to perceive a distinct difference between what is meant with participation and with involvement, indicating a limited insight of the value-added of local activities. In particular, the idea of strong involvement needs to be enhanced, as it is the key to building residents’ perceptions in continuous participation processes. As the idea of participation already exists in municipalities, only small adjustments to practices and changes in mindsets are needed. Notably, the maintenance phase allows for an appropriate time span for involvement, requiring several rounds of organised activities and dialogues.
Novel resource thinking supports UOS managers’ efforts to appropriately prioritise urban areas requiring conventional management and areas for building resident involvement. Both areas need to serve the general and cross-cutting aims of urban development. These cross-cutting objectives, including biodiversity support, also frame involvement and participation methods that are meaningful to residents.
This article provides two avenues for future research. First, involvement practices, such as maintenance activities and local interactive dialogues, could be applied to the cities where the involvement of residents shaping the public spaces is marginal. Second, managers need to have a new set of tools and participation methods, particularly for building relevant long-term involvement.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, S.S., O.T. and H.K.; methodology, S.S. and O.T.; validation, S.S., O.T. and H.K.; formal analysis, S.S. and O.T.; investigation, S.S., O.T. and H.K.; resources, S.S.; data curation, S.S. and O.T.; writing—original draft preparation, S.S. and O.T.; writing—review and editing, O.T. and H.K.; visualization, O.T. and S.S.; supervision, H.K.; funding acquisition, O.T. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


The work of Outi Tahvonen is funded by the Finnish Strategic Research Council (SRC) established within the Academy of Finland (CO-CARBON 335210, 335270).

Institutional Review Board Statement

Ethical review according Finnish National Board on Research integrity was conducted before this study and there was no need for an approval of the Institutional Review Board.

Informed Consent Statement

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study. No demographic information was collected and participants cannot be identified.

Data Availability Statement

Not applicable. Preserved by S.S.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest. The founding sponsors had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results.


  1. Baynes, T.M.; Wiedmann, T. General approaches for assessing urban environmental sustainability. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 2012, 4, 458–464. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  2. Mumm, O.; Zeringue, R.; Dong, N.; Carlow, V.M. Green Densities: Accessible Green Spaces in Highly Dense Urban Regions—A Comparison of Berlin and Qingdao. Sustainability 2022, 14, 1690. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  3. Wolfram, M. Cities shaping grassroots niches for sustainability transitions: Conceptual reflections and an exploratory case study. J. Clean. Prod. 2018, 173, 11–23. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  4. Pantaloni, M.; Marinelli, G.; Santilocchi, R.; Minelli, A.; Neri, D. Sustainable Management Practices for Urban Green Spaces to Support Green Infrastructure: An Italian Case Study. Sustainability 2022, 14, 4243. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  5. Wolfram, M. Conceptualizing urban transformative capacity: A framework for research and policy. Cities 2016, 51, 121–130. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  6. Elmqvist, T.; Setälä, H.; Handel, S.; van der Ploeg, S.; Aronson, J.; Blignaut, J.; Gómez-Baggethun, E.; Nowak, D.; Kronenberg, J.; de Groot, R. Benefits of restoring ecosystem services in urban areas. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 2015, 14, 101–108. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  7. Aronson, M.F.; Lepczyk, C.A.; Evans, K.L.; Goddard, M.A.; Lerman, S.B.; MacIvor, J.S.; Nilon, C.H.; Vargo, T. Biodiversity in the city: Key challenges for urban green space management. Front. Ecol. Environ. 2017, 15, 189–196. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  8. Jansson, M.; Vogel, N.; Fors, H.; Dempsey, N.; Buijs; Randrup, T.B. Urban Open Space Governance and Management; Jansson, M., Randrup, T.B., Eds.; Routledge: New York, NY, USA, 2020; p. 12. [Google Scholar]
  9. Korpela, K.M.; Ylén, M. Perceived health is associated with visiting natural favourite places in the vicinity. Health Place 2007, 13, 138–151. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  10. Wolch, J.R.; Byrne, J.; Newell, J.P. Urban green space, public health, and environmental justice: The challenge of making cities ‘just green enough’. Landsc. Urban Plan. 2014, 125, 234–244. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  11. Rigolon, A.; Browning, M.H.E.M.; McAnirlin, O.; Yoon, H. Green Space and Health Equity: A Systematic Review on the Potential of Green Space to Reduce Health Disparities. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 2563. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  12. Matos, P.; Vieira, J.; Rocha, B.; Branquinho, C.; Pinho, P. Modeling the provision of air-quality regulation ecosystem service provided by urban green spaces using lichens as ecological indicators. Sci. Total Environ. 2019, 665, 521–530. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  13. Tahvonen, O. Scalable Green Infrastructure and the Water, Vegetation, and Soil System—Scaling-up from Finnish Domestic Gardens. Ph.D. Thesis, Aalto University, Espoo, Finland, 2019. [Google Scholar]
  14. Engle, N.L. Adaptive capacity and its assessment. Glob. Environ. Change 2011, 21, 647–656. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  15. Lockwood, M.; Davidson, J.; Curtis, A.; Stratford, E.; Griffith, R. Governance Principles for Natural Resource Management. Soc. Nat. Resour. 2010, 23, 986–1001. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  16. Molin, J.F.; Fors, H.; Faehnle, M. Citizen Participation for Better Urban Green Spaces. 2016. Available online: (accessed on 19 June 2022).
  17. Kothencz, G.; Kolcsár, R.; Cabrera-Barona, P.; Szilassi, P. Urban Green Space Perception and Its Contribution to Well-Being. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 766. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed] [Green Version]
  18. Grahn, P.; Stigsdotter, U.K. The relation between perceived sensory dimensions of urban green space and stress restoration. Landsc. Urban Plan. 2010, 94, 264–275. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  19. Smaniotto Costa, C.; Mathey, J.; Šuklje Erjavec, I. Green spaces—A key resources for urban sustainability. The GreenKeys approach for developing green spaces. Urbani Izziv. 2008, 19, 199–211. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  20. Naumann, S.; McKenna, D.; Kaphengst, T.; Pieterse, M.; Rayment, M. Design, Implementation and Cost Elements of Green Infrastructure Projects; DG Environment, Ecologic Institute and GHK Consultingilon: Luxembourg, 2011. [Google Scholar]
  21. Nankervis, A.R.; Compton, R.L. Performance management: Theory in practice? Asia Pac. J. Hum. Resour. 2006, 44, 83–101. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  22. Nartisa, I.; Putans, R.; Muravska, T. Strategic planning and management in public and private sector organizations in Europe: Copmaparative analysis and opportunities for improvement. Eur. Integr. Stud. 2012, 6. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  23. Koontz, H. The management Theory Jungle. J. Acad. Manag. 1961, 4, 174–188. Available online: (accessed on 8 August 2022).
  24. Cole, G.A.; Kelly, P.P. Management Theory and Practice, 8th ed.; Cengage Learning: Boston, MA, USA, 2015; p. 624. [Google Scholar]
  25. Jansson, M.; Lindgren, T. A review of the concept ‘management’ in relation to urban landscapes and green spaces: Toward a holistic understanding. Urban For. Urban Green. 2012, 11, 139–145. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  26. Eliassen, K.A.; Sitter, N. Understanding Public Management; SAGE Publications: London, UK, 2008; pp. 86–121. [Google Scholar]
  27. Hood, C. The New Public Management in the 1980s: Variation on a theme. Accounting. Oganisations Soc. 1995, 20, 93–109. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  28. Barrie, C.; Swallow, P. Building Maintenance Management; John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, NJ, USA, 2007. [Google Scholar]
  29. Dempsey, N.; Burton, M. Defining place-keeping: The long-term management of public spaces. Urban For. Urban Green. 2012, 11, 11–20. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  30. Lee, K.N. Appraising adaptive management. Conserv. Ecol. 1999, 3, 3. Available online: (accessed on 22 April 2022). [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  31. Nyberg, J.B. Statistics and the practice of adaptive management. In Statistical Methods for Adaptive Management Studies; Sit, V., Taylor, B., Eds.; Ministry of Forestry Government of British Columbia: Victoria, BC, Canada, 1998; pp. 1–5. [Google Scholar]
  32. Ambrose-Oji, B.; Tabbush, P.; Carter, C.; Frost, B.; Fielding, K.S. Public Engagement in Forestry: A Toolbox for Public Participation in Forest and Woodland Planning; Forestry Commission: Edinburgh, UK, 2011. Available online: (accessed on 20 April 2022).
  33. Mäenpää, P.; Faehnle, M. 4.S: Kuinka Kaupunkiaktivismi Haastaa Hallinnon, Muuttaa Markkinat ja Laajentaa Demokratiaa; Vastapaino: Tampere, Finland, 2021. [Google Scholar]
  34. Land Use and Building Act. 6§. Finlex. Available online: (accessed on 4 May 2022). (In Finnish).
  35. Kopáček, M. Land-Use Planning and the Public: Is There an Optimal Degree of Civic Participation? Land 2021, 10, 90. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  36. Randrup, T.B.; Persson, B. Public green spaces in the Nordic countries: Development of a new strategic management regime. Urban For. Urban Green. 2009, 8, 31–40. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  37. Jansson, M.; Vogel, N.; Fors, H.; Randrup, T.B. The governance of landscape management: New approaches to urban open space development. Landsc. Res. 2019, 44, 952–965. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  38. Jensen, M.B.; Persson, B.; Guldager, S.; Reeh, U.; Nilsson, K. Green structure and sustainability developing a tool for local planning. Landsc. Urban Plan. 2000, 17, 117–133. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  39. Bennett, E.M.; Cramer, W.; Begossi, A.; Cundill, G.; Díaz, S.; Egoh, B.N.; Geijzendorffer, I.R.; Krug, C.B.; Lavorel, S.; Lazos, E.; et al. Linking biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being: Three challenges for designing research for sustainability. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 2015, 14, 76–85. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  40. Sites. The Sustainable Sites Initiative. 2016. Available online: (accessed on 12 July 2022).
  41. Randrup, T.; Östberg, J. Hållbar Grönyteskötsel. Alnarp. 2017. Available online: (accessed on 3 May 2022).
  42. Viherympäristöliitto 2019. Sustainable Landscape Construction. 2019. Available online: (accessed on 6 May 2022).
  43. City of Berlin. 2016. Available online: (accessed on 2 April 2022).
  44. Viherympäristöliitto 2020. RAMS Classification for Maintenance. 2020. Available online: (accessed on 6 May 2022). (In Finnish).
  45. Cabe. A Guide to Producing Park and Green Space Management Plans. 2009. Available online: (accessed on 7 May 2022).
  46. Vardouli, T. Who Designs? In Empowering Users through Design; Bihanic, D., Ed.; Springer International Publishing: Cham, Switzerland, 2015; pp. 13–41. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  47. IAP2. Advancing the Practice of Public Participation. International Association for Public Participation. 2016. Available online: (accessed on 7 May 2022).
  48. Bahnareanu, A. Public Leadership and Citizen Engagement. SSRN Electron. J. 2011. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  49. Arnstein, S.R. A Ladder of Citizen Participation. J. Am. Inst. Plan. 1969, 35, 216–224. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  50. Steen Møller, M.; Stahl Olafsson, A. The Use of E-Tools to Engage Citizens in Urban Green Infrastructure Governance: Where Do We Stand and Where Are We Going? Sustainability 2018, 10, 3513. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  51. Bell, S. Landscape pattern, perception and visualisation in the visual management of forests. Landsc. Urban Plan. 2001, 54, 201–211. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  52. De Haas, W.; Hassink, J.; Stuiver, M. The Role of Urban Green Space in Promoting Inclusion: Experiences from The Netherlands. Front. Environ. Sci. 2021, 9, 618198. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  53. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Encouraging Citizen Input on Parks: Getting Out of the Boardroom. 2021. Available online: (accessed on 1 June 2022).
  54. Fors, H.; Hagemann, F.A.; Sang, Å.O.; Randrup, T.B. Striving for Inclusion—A Systematic Review of Long-Term Participation in Strategic Management of Urban Green Spaces. Front. Sustain. Cities 2021, 3, 572423. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  55. Rauws, W. Embracing Uncertainty Without Abandoning Planning: Exploring an Adaptive Planning Approach for Guiding Urban Transformations. DisP Plan. Rev. 2017, 53, 32–45. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  56. Siebers, V.; Torfing, J. Co-Creation as a New Form of Citizens Engagement: Comparing Danish and Dutch Experiences at the Local Government Level. Int. Public Manag. Rev. 2018, 18, 187–208. Available online: (accessed on 12 May 2022).
  57. Ives, C.D.; Lentini, P.E.; Threlfall, C.G.; Ikin, K.; Shanahan, D.F.; Garrard, G.E.; Bekessy, S.A.; Fuller, R.A.; Mumaw, L.; Rayner, L.; et al. Cities are hotspots for threatened species: The importance of cities for threatened species. Glob. Ecol. Biogeogr. 2016, 25, 117–126. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  58. Nilon, C.H. Urban biodiversity and the importance of management and conservation. Landsc. Ecol. Eng. 2011, 7, 45–52. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  59. Werner, P.; Zahner, R. Biological Diversity and Cities: A Review and Bibliography; Bundesamt fur Naturschutz: Leipzig, Germany, 2009; BfN-Skripten 245. [Google Scholar]
  60. McIntyre, N.E. Ecology of Urban Arthropods: A Review and a Call to Action. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 2000, 93, 825–835. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  61. McIntyre, N.E.; Rango, J.; Fagan, W.F.; Faeth, S.H. Ground arthropod community structure in a heterogeneous urban environment. Landsc. Urban Plan. 2001, 52, 257–274. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  62. Sandoval, L. Urban Habitat Management that Could Attract Species that Otherwise Avoid Cities. Blog Text in The Nature of Cities. 2018. Available online: (accessed on 10 August 2022).
  63. Harrison, C.; Davies, G. Conserving biodiversity that matters: Practitioners’ perspectives on brownfield development and urban nature conservation in London. J. Environ. Manag. 2002, 65, 95–108. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  64. Cilliers, S. Urban Biodiversity and Design; Müller, M., Werner, P., Kelcey, J.G., Eds.; Blackwell Publishing Ltd.: Oxford, UK, 2010. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  65. Loss, S.R.; Ruiz, M.O.; Brawn, J.D. Relationships between avian diversity, neighborhood age, income, and environmental characteristics of an urban landscape. Biol. Conserv. 2009, 142, 2578–2585. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  66. Evans, G.W. The built environment and mental health. J. Urban Health 2003, 80, 536–555. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  67. Brindley, P.; Jorgensen, A.; Maheswaran, R. Domestic gardens and self-reported health: A national population study. Int. J. Health Geogr. 2018, 17, 31. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  68. Mills, J.G.; Brookes, J.D.; Gellie, N.J.C.; Liddicoat, C.; Lowe, A.J.; Sydnor, H.R.; Thomas, T.; Weinstein, P.; Weyrich, L.S.; Breed, M.F. Relating Urban Biodiversity to Human Health With the ‘Holobiont’ Concept. Front. Microbiol. 2019, 10, 550. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  69. Brinsmead, T.; Hooker, C. Complex Systems Dynamics and Sustainability: Conseption, Method and Policy. In Philosophy of Complex Systems; Gabbay, M., Thagard, P., Woods, J., Hooker, C., Woods, J., Eds.; Elsevier Science & Technology: London, UK, 2011; pp. 809–840. [Google Scholar]
  70. Sardi, A.; Sorano, E. Dynamic Performance Management: An Approach for Managing the Common Goods. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6435. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  71. Yin, R.K. Case Study Research: Design and Method; Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA, USA, 2003. [Google Scholar]
  72. Ørngreen, R.; Levinsen, K. Workshops as a Research Methodology. Electr. J. E-Learn. 2017, 15, 70–81. [Google Scholar]
  73. Thoring, K.; Mueller, R.M.; Badke-Schaub, P. Workshops as a Research Method: Guidelines for Designing and Evaluating Artifacts Through Workshops. Conference Proceedings. 2020. Available online: (accessed on 7 August 2022).
  74. Smit, E.G.; Van Noort, G.; Voorveld, H.A.M. Understanding online behavioural advertising: User knowledge, privacy concerns and online coping behaviour in Europe. Comput. Hum. Behav. 2014, 32, 15–22. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  75. Abrell, T.; Benker, A.; Pihlajamaa, M. User knowledge utilization in innovation of complex products and systems: An absorptive capacity perspective. Creat. Innov. Manag. 2018, 27, 169–182. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  76. Joshi, A.; Kale, S.; Chandel, S.; Pal, D. Likert Scale: Explored and Explained. Br. J. Appl. Sci. Technol. 2015, 7, 396–403. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  77. Harpe, S.E. How to analyze Likert and other rating scale data. Curr. Pharm. Teach. Learn. 2015, 7, 836–850. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  78. Mayring, P. Qualitative Content Analysis. Forum Qual. Soc. Res. 2000, 1, 159–176. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  79. Campbell, M.O. Adaptive Management of Green Spaces and Life Quality in Glasgow (Scotland) and Ottawa (Canada). In Multidimensional Approach to Quality of Life Issues; Sinha, B., Ed.; Springer: Singapore, 2019; pp. 309–324. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  80. Schulz, K.; Mnisri, K. Pathways to Connect Creativity and Sustainable Development; Pun-editions Universitaires de Lorraine Artem Occ., ICN Business School Publication: Nancy, France, 2020. [Google Scholar]
  81. Zolkafli, A.; Brown, G.; Liu, Y. An Evaluation of the Capacity-building Effects of Participatory GIS (PGIS) for Public Participation in Land Use Planning. Plan. Pract. Res. 2017, 32, 385–401. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  82. Randrup, T.B.; Buijs, A.; Konijnendijk, C.C.; Wild, T. Moving beyond the nature-based solutions discourse: Introducing nature-based thinking. Urban Ecosyst. 2020, 23, 919–926. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  83. Puskás, N.; Abunnasr, Y.; Naalbandian, S. Assessing deeper levels of participation in nature-based solutions in urban landscapes—A literature review of real-world cases. Landsc. Urban Plan. 2021, 210, 104065. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  84. Wolff, A.; Pässilä, A.; Knutas, A.; Vainio, T.; Lautala, J.; Kantola, L. The Importance of Creative Practices in Designing More-Than-Human Cities. In Handbook of Smart Cities; Augusto, J.C., Ed.; Springer Nature: Cham, Switzerland, 2021; pp. 2–20. [Google Scholar]
  85. Suomalainen, S.; Kahiluoto, H.; Pässilä, A.; Owens, A.; Holtham, C. Arts-Aided Recognition of Citizens´ Perceptions for Urban Open Space Management. Sustainability 2021, 14, 135. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Figure 1. Management of urban open spaces (UOS) modified from Costa and others [19]; Nauman and others [20]; Pantaloni and others [4] include the phases from initiation to maintenance.
Figure 1. Management of urban open spaces (UOS) modified from Costa and others [19]; Nauman and others [20]; Pantaloni and others [4] include the phases from initiation to maintenance.
Sustainability 14 12697 g001
Figure 2. Three approaches to manage urban open spaces (UOS). (A) the management of obligatory participation, (B) the strategic management of UOS [36,37], and (C) the management of maintenance and its reflection for place-making and place-keeping [29].
Figure 2. Three approaches to manage urban open spaces (UOS). (A) the management of obligatory participation, (B) the strategic management of UOS [36,37], and (C) the management of maintenance and its reflection for place-making and place-keeping [29].
Sustainability 14 12697 g002
Figure 3. The workshop data from 2018 present the content of the canvas after the workshop. The participants replied with how user knowledge is related to the different phases of UOS management. The grey areas mark how the participants related strategic, tactical, and operational phases to UOS management.
Figure 3. The workshop data from 2018 present the content of the canvas after the workshop. The participants replied with how user knowledge is related to the different phases of UOS management. The grey areas mark how the participants related strategic, tactical, and operational phases to UOS management.
Sustainability 14 12697 g003
Figure 4. Operationalisation of key concepts.
Figure 4. Operationalisation of key concepts.
Sustainability 14 12697 g004
Figure 5. The user knowledge was coded as involvement by using deductive content analysis. After that, involvement was categorised into moderate and strong involvement.
Figure 5. The user knowledge was coded as involvement by using deductive content analysis. After that, involvement was categorised into moderate and strong involvement.
Sustainability 14 12697 g005
Figure 6. The results regarding present participation, moderate involvement, and strong involvement, as well as how participants related them to strategic, tactical, and operational management.
Figure 6. The results regarding present participation, moderate involvement, and strong involvement, as well as how participants related them to strategic, tactical, and operational management.
Sustainability 14 12697 g006
Figure 7. Actors at different phases of management have similar opportunities to promote biodiversity-friendly practices.
Figure 7. Actors at different phases of management have similar opportunities to promote biodiversity-friendly practices.
Sustainability 14 12697 g007
Figure 8. Residents’ willingness to accept biodiversity-friendly elements varies depending on the practice-based topic.
Figure 8. Residents’ willingness to accept biodiversity-friendly elements varies depending on the practice-based topic.
Sustainability 14 12697 g008
Figure 9. The current changes in UOSs and their vegetation-covered surfaces were experienced as difficult.
Figure 9. The current changes in UOSs and their vegetation-covered surfaces were experienced as difficult.
Sustainability 14 12697 g009
Figure 10. Respondents consider residents’ perceptions important for design phase and seem to give residents credit for the outcomes of participation.
Figure 10. Respondents consider residents’ perceptions important for design phase and seem to give residents credit for the outcomes of participation.
Sustainability 14 12697 g010
Figure 11. The three approaches (AC) of management in relation to AMM model. The AMM model presents the management of a site in which localness enables involvement and adaptiveness to on-going changes in its socio-ecological system.
Figure 11. The three approaches (AC) of management in relation to AMM model. The AMM model presents the management of a site in which localness enables involvement and adaptiveness to on-going changes in its socio-ecological system.
Sustainability 14 12697 g011
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Suomalainen, S.; Tahvonen, O.; Kahiluoto, H. From Participation to Involvement in Urban Open Space Management and Maintenance. Sustainability 2022, 14, 12697.

AMA Style

Suomalainen S, Tahvonen O, Kahiluoto H. From Participation to Involvement in Urban Open Space Management and Maintenance. Sustainability. 2022; 14(19):12697.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Suomalainen, Sari, Outi Tahvonen, and Helena Kahiluoto. 2022. "From Participation to Involvement in Urban Open Space Management and Maintenance" Sustainability 14, no. 19: 12697.

Note that from the first issue of 2016, this journal uses article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop