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The role of community-led innovation in the adaptive capacity of ecosystem services in an urban social-ecological system

Dennis, Matthew 2015, The role of community-led innovation in the adaptive capacity of ecosystem services in an urban social-ecological system , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Urban areas are hubs of creativity and innovation providing fertile ground for novel responses to modern environmental challenges. One such response is the community-led management of urban green spaces as a form of organised social-ecological innovation (OSEI). Previous studies have attempted to conceptualise the ecological, social and political potential of such informal approaches to urban green space management. However, little work has been carried out into their efficacy in the landscape, either by describing the social-ecological conditions influencing their occurrence or by quantifying the actual benefits in terms of ecosystem service provision. This research explores the emergence and impact of OSEI in a continuous urban landscape comprising the metropolitan areas of Manchester, Salford and Trafford (UK). The social-ecological context and content of OSEI were investigated using a cross-scale approach. At the landscape scale a snowball-sampling method mapped the occurrence of OSEIs using GIS and remote sensing technology. At the micro-scale, a case study quantified relative levels of provision across four key ecosystem services. The analysis presented OSEI as an adaptive response to environmental stressors, clustered around “hubs” of social-ecological innovation in the urban landscape. The distribution of OSEIs was influenced by historical context, degree of urbanisation and dependent on levels of, and dynamics between, social and ecological deprivation. Urban agriculture was instrumental as a catalyst for the emergence of OSEI and the associated production of a range of ecosystem services. Site productivity was also influenced by spatial and design considerations. This thesis has detailed the character of OSEI as a coherent phenomenon in the urban landscape which exhibits valuable response diversity according to social-ecological conditions. This, together with an evaluation of factors influencing ecosystem service provision at the local scale, has informed the validity of OSEI as an element of adaptive capacity which contributes to resilience in urban social-ecological systems.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Themes: Built and Human Environment
Health and Wellbeing
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Dr Matthew Dennis
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2015 13:35
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2015 13:35

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