Ecosystem Services in Urban Contexts: Balancing City Environment

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 June 2023) | Viewed by 11623

Special Issue Editors

Department of Building Sciences and Urban Planning, Urban Design and Regional Planning Unit, University of Alicante, San Vicente de Raspeig, 03690 Alicante, Spain
Interests: urban planning; landscape planning; urban design
Department of Building Sciences and Urban Planning, Urban Design and Regional Planning Unit, University of Alicante, San Vicente de Raspeig, 03690 Alicante, Spain
Interests: urban design; urban data analysis; land uses; built environment; LBSN data

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Green systems have been revealed as a key component for improving urban environments and citizens wellbeing, incorporating vast potential to fight against climate change and to play a crucial role in the social cohesion of cities. The elements of green infrastructure are linked, not only to the landscape ecology principles, but also are related to the provision of associated ecosystem services, which are decisive for the integration of multi-scalar and multi-functional approaches to urban and regional planning.

As a matter of fact, research on ecosystem services delivery would aid the definition of criteria and strategies’ design for the best integration of the green infrastructure system in line with the creation of resilient, recognizable and effective urban networks. The types of ecosystem services contribute differently to tangible and intangible aspects related to city life, structure, and land-use configuration. By a way of illustration, Cultural ecosystem services can deliver physical and mental wellbeing to communities, through tangible aspects, such as vegetation or fauna, or intangible but valuable ones that encompass a broad range of approaches from identity, harmony or beauty, to social cohesion, recreation or cultural education, among others.

This special issue aims to gather research on the contribution of Ecosystem Services to sustainable development of urban and peri-urban contexts. The approach to research is open to cover a wide span of matters ranging from new methods or sources for Ecosystem Services’ assessment, to advances on theoretical or empirical studies, case-study analysis and/or experiences. Manuscripts are to be considered when the aims of research are aligned to any of the following topics:

  • Ecosystem services and green infrastructure: multiscale approach
  • Ecosystems services in urban transects: balancing city districts
  • Urban facilities and ecosystem services: multifunctionality
  • Social dynamics related to ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem services and specific land-use approaches
  • Digital approaches to the analysis of Urban Ecosystem Services
  • Location-Based data as source for the study and monitoring of ecosystem service associated dynamics
  • Urban resilience and ecosystem services
  • Ecosystem services and urban landscape perception
  • Healthy cities and citizen wellbeing
  • Urban fringe integration to urban dynamics
  • Ecosystem services and social cohesion

Dr. Clara Garcia-Mayor
Dr. Almudena Nolasco-Cirugeda
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • ecosystem service
  • urban dynamics
  • green infrastructure
  • land-use mix
  • peri-urban transect
  • green wedge
  • cultural ecosystem service
  • urban design
  • urban ecology
  • urban fringe

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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30 pages, 32514 KiB  
Article
Urban Green Infrastructure Accessibility: Investigating Environmental Justice in a European and Global Green Capital
Land 2023, 12(8), 1534; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081534 - 02 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1517
Abstract
Access to green spaces offers numerous benefits to citizens and is key to achieving environmental justice. This article explores accessibility to green infrastructure (GI) in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, the European and Global Green Capital in 2012 and 2019. Vitoria-Gasteiz was selected as a case [...] Read more.
Access to green spaces offers numerous benefits to citizens and is key to achieving environmental justice. This article explores accessibility to green infrastructure (GI) in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, the European and Global Green Capital in 2012 and 2019. Vitoria-Gasteiz was selected as a case study because it combines actions aimed at promoting green infrastructure in the city along with an urban model that in recent years has favored more expansive urbanism. Manhattan distance and configurational analysis is used to investigate accessibility to the most relevant elements of the GI system and their integration in the urban tissue. Considering the actual pedestrian mobility network, configurational accessibility is examined globally and locally with 1 km and 300 m radii. The analysis reveals great differences both in global and local configurational accessibility across fifty components of the GI system that are greater than 0.5 ha and open for public use. It also shows that, while almost all inhabitants (97.9%) reside within 1 km from these green areas, 27.7% of the population live more than 300 m away. The investigation demonstrates the need to improve the city’s GI to provide universal accessibility to green spaces. It offers useful methods that planning professionals and local administrations can use to assess residents’ access to green areas and guide future GI transformation and development towards environmental justice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services in Urban Contexts: Balancing City Environment)
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19 pages, 2814 KiB  
Article
The Flow of Green Exercise, Its Characteristics, Mechanism, and Pattern in Urban Green Space Networks: A Case Study of Nangchang, China
Land 2023, 12(3), 673; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12030673 - 13 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1265
Abstract
An urban green space network provides safe and green exercise routes for residents. This study selected Nanchang as the study area. Using fitness application data, we explored the mobility of people exercising in the network, i.e., the flow of green exercise. Spatial analysis [...] Read more.
An urban green space network provides safe and green exercise routes for residents. This study selected Nanchang as the study area. Using fitness application data, we explored the mobility of people exercising in the network, i.e., the flow of green exercise. Spatial analysis based on social networks, GIS, and the gravity model was used to analyze the nodes, network characteristics, and mechanism of the flow of green exercise. The results show that there were differences in the hierarchy and attractiveness of nodes. Distance had an important influence on green exercise. It was found that walkers moved between adjacent parks, runners visited more parks and corridors, while cyclists covered longer distances and preferred to explore suburban green spaces. The length of the exercise route in green spaces had a positive effect on mobility. Because of the many combinations of patches and corridors, three flow subnetworks were formed. In addition, the green space network expanded the scope of exercise services in the central node. The management of green spaces should pay attention to the social value of urban green space networks and create a hierarchical and interconnected green space for exercisers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services in Urban Contexts: Balancing City Environment)
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14 pages, 9657 KiB  
Article
Economic Growth Does Not Mitigate Its Decoupling Relationship with Urban Greenness in China
Land 2023, 12(3), 614; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12030614 - 04 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1063
Abstract
Accompanied by China’s rapid economic growth, significant urban greening has occurred in Chinese cities, in particular in the urban core areas. In contrast, rapid urbanization and economic growth also led to a high probability of vegetation degradation in urban fringe regions. However, these [...] Read more.
Accompanied by China’s rapid economic growth, significant urban greening has occurred in Chinese cities, in particular in the urban core areas. In contrast, rapid urbanization and economic growth also led to a high probability of vegetation degradation in urban fringe regions. However, these significant spatial differences in urban greenness associated with economic growth in Chinese cities are not well understood. This study explored the spatiotemporal characteristics of the nighttime light (NTL) and annual maximum enhanced vegetation index (EVImax) in urban areas from 2001 to 2020. A strong decoupling status between economic growth and urban greenness on the national scale was found. Overall, 49.15% of urban areas showed a decoupling status. Spatially, this percentage of urban areas with a decoupling status would significantly decrease when the long-term average NTL surpasses 51. Moreover, this significant threshold of decoupling status was found in 189 cities out of 344 (54.65%) in China. This threshold in each city showed significant spatial heterogeneity but can mostly be attributed to the gradient in the long-term average precipitation (Pmean) of each city during the period of 2001–2020. Specifically, a spatial increase in Pmean of 100 mm responded to a decrease in the threshold of 0.4 DN (p < 0.01). In contrast, there was no significant correlation between the threshold and the economic growth status of each city. Our results provide valuable insights for coordinating the development of urban greening and economic growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services in Urban Contexts: Balancing City Environment)
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25 pages, 3466 KiB  
Article
Citizen Science Approach for Assessing the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Potential of Urban Green Spaces in Ghana
Land 2022, 11(10), 1774; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101774 - 12 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3094
Abstract
Urban green spaces are linked to good human health and well-being, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, life on land and under water, as well as offering a platform for quality nature-based education. Their efficient management will no doubt be necessary if strides [...] Read more.
Urban green spaces are linked to good human health and well-being, sustainable cities and communities, climate action, life on land and under water, as well as offering a platform for quality nature-based education. Their efficient management will no doubt be necessary if strides are to be made in efforts to protect biodiversity and enhance ecosystem service delivery in urban areas. This will, in part, require building the capacity of community members as citizen scientists to take up conservation roles. This study explored the levels of biodiversity and the proxy-based ecosystem service potential of urban green spaces in Sunyani, Ghana, using citizen science approaches. The green spaces accessed were the University of Energy and Natural Resources Wildlife Sanctuary and Arboretum, the Sunyani Parks and Gardens, the Sunyani Residency Park, and the Sunyani Senior High School Woodlot. The different levels of biodiversity (trees, arthropods) and ecosystem services were observed for the five green spaces assessed, with a significant relationship observed between arthropod communities and vegetation variables. Our results showed that citizen scientists perceived urban green spaces to supply more significant provisioning and regulating services than any other ecosystem services, even though they were highly dissatisfied with how green spaces are managed. The children’s perception of the composition of nature was slightly narrow, as they largely centered on plants and animals only. Even so, their awareness of the value of nature was high, as were the threats of human activities to nature. Citizen science approaches could complement biodiversity studies in data-deficient regions; however, collected data may require additional verification and validation from experts for conclusive and better inferences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services in Urban Contexts: Balancing City Environment)
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20 pages, 5873 KiB  
Article
Spatial-Temporal Dynamic Evaluation of Ecosystem Service Value and Its Driving Mechanisms in China
Land 2022, 11(7), 1000; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11071000 - 30 Jun 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1652
Abstract
Understanding the spatial differentiation and driving mechanisms of ecosystem service value (ESV) is helpful for the protection and sustainable development of the ecological environment. Despite the fact that various studies on ESV have been conducted in various regions, few studies have discussed the [...] Read more.
Understanding the spatial differentiation and driving mechanisms of ecosystem service value (ESV) is helpful for the protection and sustainable development of the ecological environment. Despite the fact that various studies on ESV have been conducted in various regions, few studies have discussed the spatial differentiation characteristics of ESV in a long time series at a national scale, and even fewer studies have thoroughly examined the driving mechanism of the spatial differentiation of ESV from the perspective of different regions. On the basis of China’s land use data from 1990 to 2018, this paper used the methods of land use dynamics, the ESV evaluation model, hot spot analysis, the barycenter model, and the geographical detector model to study the temporal and spatial differentiation characteristics of land use and ESV in the study area. Moreover, it analyzes the driving mechanisms of the spatial differentiation of ESV at the national scale and in different regions of China. Our results showed the following: (1) Other land types have increased overall, with the exception of grassland. Obvious differences were observed in the single land use dynamics of each land type, especially the construction land, where farmland was the primary source of construction land. With the passage of time, the dynamic degree of comprehensive land use increased. (2) During the study period, ESV generally showed a decreasing trend, with distinct characteristics in high and low ESV areas. The center of gravity of ESV was constantly in Dingxi County and Pingliang City, Shaanxi Province, and its trajectory was generally “S”-shaped. (3) From the perspective of national scale and different regions, the dominant factors affecting the spatial differentiation of ESV were different, and the interaction among multiple factors was significantly stronger than that of a single factor. The findings of the study can provide more scientific decision-making services for China in order to promote regional environmental protection and develop ecological civilization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services in Urban Contexts: Balancing City Environment)
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Review

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23 pages, 5862 KiB  
Review
A Bibliometric Analysis of Urban Ecosystem Services: Structure, Evolution, and Prospects
Land 2023, 12(2), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020337 - 26 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1712
Abstract
Urban areas are human–environmental systems that rely heavily on ecosystems for long-term sustainability, and ecosystems and their components are essential to city life. Previous reviews have drawn a range of conclusions relevant to the future analysis and implementation of ecological and facility assessments. [...] Read more.
Urban areas are human–environmental systems that rely heavily on ecosystems for long-term sustainability, and ecosystems and their components are essential to city life. Previous reviews have drawn a range of conclusions relevant to the future analysis and implementation of ecological and facility assessments. Overall, however, there is still a need to develop more systematic methods to comprehensively assess and evaluate urban ecosystem services (UES) in a temporal dimension for use in both historical monitoring studies and prospective research. Using CiteSpace, this study assessed the history and current state of UES research from multiple angles, as well as identified research structures and emerging trends in this field. The main findings are as follows: (i) The study of UES can be divided into three distinct but interconnected stages: preparation, rise, and prosperity. There are substantial prospects for UES research to develop worldwide collaborative networks, since it is increasingly expanding from domains focused on ecological or environmental science to those that draw from a wider range of disciplines. (ii) UES has evolved slowly from large-scale research to more focused, smaller-scale studies. Research on the subject of UES focuses primarily on two primary areas: land-use change and the development of green infrastructure. (iii) Sustainability in cities is currently a hot issue, and an important area of this study is the role that urban ecosystem services plays in ensuring residents’ health and happiness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services in Urban Contexts: Balancing City Environment)
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