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Open AccessArticle

Green and Blue Infrastructure in Darwin; Carbon Economies and the Social and Cultural Dimensions of Valuing Urban Mangroves in Australia

Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space (ACCESS), University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(3), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci3030086
Received: 26 June 2019 / Revised: 27 July 2019 / Accepted: 29 July 2019 / Published: 31 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green Infrastructure)
Darwin’s mangrove ecosystems, some of the most extensive and biodiverse in the world, are part of the urban fabric in the tropical north of Australia but they are also clearly at risk from the current scale and pace of development. Climate motivated market-based responses, the so-called ‘new-carbon economies’, are one prominent approach to thinking differently about the value of living infrastructure and how it might provide for and improve liveability. In the Australian context, there are recent efforts to promote mangrove ecosystems as blue infrastructure, specifically as blue carbon, but also little recognition or valuation of them as green or urban infrastructure. Drawing on observational and qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews, this study examines how key stakeholders in Darwin frame and understand mangroves in relation to the urban, and how they are anticipating and responding to governance efforts to frame mangroves and pay for their carbon sequestration and storage services as blue carbon. The push for large infrastructure development and an expanding urban footprint, present serious challenges for mangrove protection, and the study evidences both denial and complacency in this regard. However, although the concept of blue carbon is already taking effect in some circles, it was not viewed as straightforward or as appropriate by all study participants and may very well work in practice to exclude groups within the community. Both clear governance problems, as well as unrecognized and vernacular community connections to mangroves in Darwin, indicate that there are ongoing conceptual and empirical challenges to be considered in recognizing and valuing mangroves as part of urban life. View Full-Text
Keywords: green infrastructure; blue infrastructure; mangroves; Darwin; Australia; social and cultural values; carbon economies; urban forest green infrastructure; blue infrastructure; mangroves; Darwin; Australia; social and cultural values; carbon economies; urban forest
MDPI and ACS Style

Atchison, J. Green and Blue Infrastructure in Darwin; Carbon Economies and the Social and Cultural Dimensions of Valuing Urban Mangroves in Australia. Urban Sci. 2019, 3, 86.

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