Urban environmental quality and wellbeing in the context of incomplete urbanization in Brazil: integrating directly experienced ecosystem services into planning

Juntti, Meri ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4022-5023, Costa, Heloisa and Nascimento, Nilo O. (2021) Urban environmental quality and wellbeing in the context of incomplete urbanization in Brazil: integrating directly experienced ecosystem services into planning. Progress in Planning, 143 , 100433. pp. 1-22. ISSN 0305-9006 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.progress.2019.04.003)

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The benefits of urban greenspace to residents are increasingly recognized as important to planning for sustainable and healthy cities. However, the way that people interact with and benefit from urban greenspace is context dependent and conditioned by a range of social and material factors. This paper applies and expands the ecosystems services based approach to understanding urban environmental quality and the way in which greenspace is appropriated by residents in the context of incomplete urbanization in three peri-urban target areas in Brazil. We develop and employ the notion of indirect (scientifically detected) and directly experienced ecosystems services, and undertake a science based ecosystem services assessment and a qualitative analysis of interviews, walking narratives and images captured with a smartphone application to understand what functions urban greenspace serves in the daily life of the studied neighborhoods. Findings demonstrate how elements of urban greenspace and what can be termed ecosystem services serve both material and signifying functions and produce subjective and collective benefits and dis-benefits that hinge on aspects of livability such as quality of urban service delivery, housing status and perceptions of crime and neighborhood character. We identify factors that enable, hinder and motivate both active material and interpretative interactions with urban greenspace. The findings suggest that the relationship between ecosystem service provision and wellbeing is better understood as reciprocal rather than one way. Although at the neighborhood scale, fear of crime and poor access to urban services can hinder positive engagements with urban greenspace and experienced benefits form ES, urban squares and fringe vegetation is also being appropriated to address experienced disadvantages. Presently however these local interactions and ecosystem service benefits are overlooked in formal planning and conservation efforts and are increasingly compromised by growing population density and environmental degradation. We make recommendations for a nuanced assessment of the material and interpretative human-nature interactions and associated ecosystem services in an urban context, and discuss the potential for planning initiatives that could be employed to articulate and nurture these important interactions in our target areas.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
Item ID: 26563
Notes on copyright: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. This author's accepted manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
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Depositing User: Meri Juntti
Date Deposited: 09 May 2019 13:52
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:04
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/26563

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