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Creating better cities: how biodiversity and ecosystem functioning enhance urban residents’ wellbeing



Cities concentrate risks and the adverse effects of dense populations, such as outdoor air pollution, chronic disease and the impact of extreme weather events. Governments and planning bodies struggle to heed and apply the abundance of unintegrated research that links aspects of the urban environment with urban residents’ wellbeing. In order to promote human wellbeing in cities, a number of key features of the urban environment should be promoted. The medical science, urban ecology and urban design research already recognises the importance of some aspects, including providing walkable spaces, community space and greenspace. We argue that in practice, the provision of these three features is insufficient for human wellbeing. Emerging research demonstrates the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem functions to wellbeing. This paper outlines the concept of wellbeing and provides a summary of the three established features of urban environments that enhance residents’ lives: the provision of walkable, community and greenspace. We then outline the importance of two vital but often overlooked links in the discussion of how urban planning contributes to wellbeing: biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Until governments and policies recognise the importance of these two elements, urban design and management for wellbeing is at best simplistic. It is important for biodiversity and ecosystem function to be considered during the design decision process. Urban designers and ecologists should recognise that their work has the potential to contribute to human wellbeing by integrating biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in their research.
Creating better cities: how biodiversity and ecosystem
functioning enhance urban residents wellbeing
Lucy Taylor & Dieter F. Hochuli
Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014
Abstract Cities concentrate risks and the adverse effects of dense populations, such as
outdoor air pollution, chronic disease and the impact of extreme weather events. Governments
and planning bodies struggle to heed and apply the abundance of unintegrated research that
links aspects of the urban environment with urban residents wellbeing. In order to promote
human wellbeing in cities, a number of key features of the urban environment should be
promoted. The medical science, urban ecology and urban design research already recognises
the importance of some aspects, including providing walkable spaces, community space and
greenspace. We argue that in practice, the provision of these three features is insufficient for
human wellbeing. Emerging research demonstrates the importance of biodiversity and eco-
system functions to wellbeing. This paper outlines the concept of wellbeing and provides a
summary of the three established features of urban environments that enhance residents lives:
the provision of walkable, community and greenspace. We then outline the importance of two
vital but often overlooked links in the discussion of how urban planning contributes to
wellbeing: biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Until governments and policies recognise
the importance of these two elements, urban design and management for wellbeing is at best
simplistic. It is important for biodiversity and ecosystem function to be considered during the
design decision process. Urban designers and ecologists should recognise that their work has
the potential to contribute to human wellbeing by integrating biodiversity and ecosystem
functioning in their research.
Keywords Urban design
Public health
Ecosystem functioning
Cities are human-dominated environments and as such, the presence and persistence of nature
is dependent upon urban residents (Rees 1997). The human-nature relationship is symbiotic
because urban nature is not just reliant on the residents of cities, but evidence suggests that
human wellbeing is associated with the presence of nature. This symbiosis is rarely recognised
by the governments, planning bodies and residents of cities. A large body of disparate (and
unintegrated) research from climate scientists, urban ecologists, the public health professions,
Urban Ecosyst
DOI 10.1007/s11252-014-0427-3
L. Taylor (*)
D. F. Hochuli
School of Biological Sciences, Heydon-Laurence Building (A08), The University of Sydney,
New South Wales 2006, Australia
epidemiologists, psychologists, and urban sociologists demonstrates the associations
between human wellbeing and nature in urban environments, but much of it is hidden
by d isciplinary silos or remains unintegrated and therefore ignored. With more than
half of the worlds population now residing in cities, urban populations continue to
grow (WHO 2010). The unplanned sprawl of many cities presents challenges for their
governance. These challenges are compounded by a lack of awareness of how
important it is for the most-populous environments in the world, cities, to have
thriving and diverse natural elements throughout.
While urban environments present opportunities for residents, they also concentrate
risks and adverse effects due to the dense population, such as air pollution, chronic
non-communicable disease due to urban lifestyles, and the climate change-related
impacts of extreme temperatures, rising sea levels, and the emergence and spread of
infectious disease (WHO 2010). Some of these risks may be mitigated by the
presence of nature. For example, heatwaves increase morbidity in urban areas due
to heat stroke and heat exhaustion (McMichael 1993; United Nations 2005), whereas
healthy greenspaces reduce the effect of heatwaves by reducing heat storage and
nighttime re-radiation (Whitford et al. 2001;Onishietal.2010;ONeilletal.2009;
Bowler et al. 2010a ).
A disconnect between urban residents and nature can emerge in some cities: transport is
planned for vehicular traffic rather than bicycles or pedestrians, built environments often focus
on the indoors, and modern urban residents may be more inclined to spend recreational time
with electronic media and television because t heir surrounds do not lend themselves to
outdoor recreation (Dustin et al. 2010). The sy mptoms and effect of this disconnect for
children has been popularized as a Nature-deficit disorder (Louv 2005). As this
disconnect progresses, the presence of nature in c ities becomes less important to
residents, and therefore governments and planning bodies. There is evidence of this
occurring in Australia, for example, whe re policy has allowed modern resi dential
development to have only a small proportion of open space, or back yard (Hall
2010). This has ecological impacts on the urban environment, im pacting the biodiver-
sity and microclimates in cities (Hall 2010).
Key features of urban design and planning that impact human wellbeing have been
identified: walkable space, community space, and greenspace. The associations between
walkable space, physical activity, transport and health in urban design are widely accepted
(for example, Badland and Schofield 2005; Saelens et al. 2003;Jackson2003), and commu-
nity or shared space enhances health through social interaction, and social interaction
(Mukerjee 2013). Greenspaces, or vegetated areas, have the potential to mitigate pollution,
encourage physical activity and, therefore, support health, and mental wellbeing (de Vries et al.
2003; Bergeman 2012). Each feature is often researched as discrete, but the benefits derived
from walkable, community and greenspaces overlap, bolstering human wellbeing by encour-
aging physical activity, social engagement, mitigating extreme climate events, and enhancing
mental health (Matsuoka and Kaplan 2008).
In this paper we identify two additional features of urban environments that are critical to
urban residents wellbeing: biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Biodiversity and ecosys-
tem function have been positively correlated (Benayas et al. 2009), with biodiversity contrib-
uting to ecosystem functioning through a range of ecological processes and biodiversity loss
degrading ecosystem health and diminishing ecosystem function (Luck et al. 2003). However,
the meaning of each term is distinct. Bio diversity is the diversity of organisms, while
ecosystem functions, or ecosystem services, are the outcomes of the functioning diversity
that support human existence (Folke et al. 1996).
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Human wellbeing
The World Health Organizations (WHO) definition of health has not changed since its
inception in the constitution in 1947: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and
social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (World Health Organi-
zation 1947). The WHO definition highlights the complexity of health, involving physical,
mental and social aspects. This reflects the recent global trend recognizing the complexity of
wellbeing, as evidenced by a proliferation of multidisciplinary reporting. For example, the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Developments (OECD) 2011 Better Life Initia-
tive includes ten categories in its index: housing, income, jobs, community, education,
environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance; the
World Economic Forums2012Wellbeing and global success report outlines three related
aspects of wellbeing: effective work, effective families, and effective communities; and the
United Nations 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment outlines the interdependence be-
tween human wellbeing and ecosystem stability and health.
In order to consider human wellbeing, the environmental context is critical. Contrary to the
common assumption that humans are separate to their environment, this approach acknowl-
edges that people are an essential part of the environment; they are as real as trees, rocks or
skyscrapers, and their interactions with each other and with places influence their health and
well-being (Lindheim and Syme 1983). Human wellbeing, then, takes into account the
multiple aspects of health as outlined by the WHO, and the environment in which humans
live. With more than half of the global population living in urban areas (United Nations 2012),
the wellbeing of urban residents is a significant consideration.
Established aspects of urban design that support human wellbeing
The three identified aspects of the urban environment that support residents wellbeing are
often researched as discrete features. While they do overlap and some research acknowledges
that, such as the work on green infrastructure (Tzoulas et al. 2007), it is useful to describe each
aspect separately, as each makes some unique contribution to urban design.
Walkable space
Walkable space is space that affords easy walking, that is, safe, well-graded, spacious paths,
pedestrian areas and parklands. Walkable spaces are important for urban residents for numer-
ous reasons, but in particular are a catalyst for physical activity.
Physical exercise has been positively associated with health. It decreases the bodys
reaction to stress by impacting stress hormones (Larzelere and Jones 2008) and is associated
with reduced morbidity and cardiovascular condition (Weber 2010). Physical activity contrib-
utes to weight maintenance, which is significant in societies with an increased incidence of
obesity, or over-nutrition (Pretty 2006; United Nations 2005). Benefits of physical activity
are not limited to humans, but have been exhibited in domestic animals as well (for example,
Alessio et al. 2005). Tree-lined footpaths along streets are a common example of a walkable
space. The space should be easy to use for all kinds of people, including for example
children and the elderly. Even the longevity and wellbeing of senior citizens have been found
to be improved by the availability of walkable space in urban areas (Takano et al. 2002).
There is an overwhelming body of evidence that demonstrates that physical activity is
beneficial for mental health (Tagles and Idrovo 2012), with additional benefits of physical
Urban Ecosyst
activity in a natural environment such as an urban park or garden. Benefits of this green
exercise include positive influences on mental health, mood and self-esteem that are even
greater for study participants in areas containing natural elements than those in built environ-
ments (Pretty et al. 2005;BartonandPretty2010). Benefits of a modest amount of green
exercise extend beyond people doing physical activity, including savings to health services by
mitigating required treatment (Tzoulas et al. 2007).
In addition to the physical and mental health benefits, providing walkable space can
encourage walking instead of driving. Walkable space provides cost-effective transport options
that promote health and wellbeing of residents: a common objective of urban design policy
(Badland and Schofield 2005).
Community space
Community space allows people to interact with other people, businesses, domestic pets and
wildlife. Such spaces might include commons areas of apartments or businesses, parks, public
sports grounds and pedestrian areas. For instance, social interactions contribute to mental
wellbeing and mitigate depression (Miles et al. 2012).
Threats to mental health include depression and stressors (Matheson et al. 2006). Resilience
against stressors is fostered when people are able to cope due to their good emotional health
(Yancura and Aldwin 2008). Potential stressors include environmental stressors, role strain
(such as unemployment and poverty), extreme heat/cold, and psychosocial stressors (such as
bereavement and relationship issues), particularly in older adults (Yancura and Aldwin 2008).
In addition, emotional wellbeing is a strong predictor of good general health (Ostir et al. 2000).
By providing community space where urban residents are likely to interact, they may discuss
their lives or seek advice. This interaction performs a social support coping mechanism,a
strategy that is linked with emotional wellbeing (Yancura and Aldwin 2008). Emotional
distress, on the other hand, has been linked with disease due to increased susceptibility to
physical illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease; impaired immune response; and potentially
due to public health issues to do with health inequalities (Stewart-Brown 1998). Social
interaction, then, is likely to foster emotional and mental wellbeing, which in turn supports
physical health and overall wellbeing.
While providing community space to enable residents to socially interact, some people will
interact with animals, whether wildlife or domestic pets, the latter having been found to
significantly increase both neighbourhood interactions and a sense of community (Walsh
2009). There has been significant research on the impact of animals on mental health. Contact
with animals has been reported to elevate psychological wellbeing (Tagles and Idrovo 2012).
There has been a range of research to show that human-animal interaction has psychophys-
iological and psychosocial effects on humans, such as decreased cortisol levels, blood
pressure, heart rate, pain, anxiety and depression, a buffered response to stress, and increased
longevity and morale (Jo hnson 2010). Attachment relationships, while mostly between
humans, have also been found between people and animals if those relationships create a
sense of psychological safety (Peacock et al. 2012). People with companion animals tend to
have a more positive perception of their situation and the progression or development of
chronic disease can be reduced (Friedmann and Son 2009). Research involving a range of
animals domestic and otherwise has also suggested that animal-human contact influences
humans sense of self, for example, whether they are a dog person or a bird watcher or a
wildlife rescue volunteer (Clayton and Myers 2011). By encouraging people to utilise
community space, pets are a catalyst for social interaction (Walsh 2009). Wildlife might also
contribute to human health; feeding birds, a common activity in urban areas around the world,
Urban Ecosyst
can benefit human wellbeing by giving providing an attachment relationship for people and
their birds (Jones 2011).
Social interactions are influenced by attributes of community space (Giles-Corti et al. 2005;
Kazmierczak 2013). Community space in a public housing development is found to attract
people outside to exercise and socially engage with neighbours (Kuo et al. 1998b). In
particular, trees are associated with increased time spent outdoors (Coley et al. 1997).
Residents in highly urbanised areas experience less aggression and violence when more green
community spaces are present (Kuo and Sullivan 2001). The larger the space, the more
attributes the space is likely to have such as facilities for walking or running, childrens
playgrounds, facilities for pet-exercise, spaces for picnicking and thus the more attractive and
well-used the community space will be (Giles-Corti et al. 2005; Kazmierczak 2013).
There are various types of natural space, or greenspace in urban areas, such as manicured
parks, public and private gardens, graveyards, remnant vegetation, street trees, playing fields,
and urban agricultural spaces. While often referred to as greenspace in the literature, the
presence of natural environments without vegetation, such as bodies of water and beaches,
have also been found to benefit human wellbeing (Barton and Pretty 2010). Each of these
types of natural space has different capability to impact the health of human and non-human
inhabitants of cities. The urban environment is a matrix of natural and non-natural spaces, and
the proportion of natural areas vary between cities and even parts of cities. It should be noted
that access to natural areas, or greenspace, also varies throughout cities (Barbosa et al. 2007).
Residents in the most urban areas of cities report more symptoms of ill-health than those with a
greater proportion of local greenspace (de Vries et al. 2003). The groups of urban populations
most at risk of ill-health in urban areas include low socioeconomic groups, the elderly, youth
(Maas et al. 2006). A study of European cities found that greenspace provision is linked with
the city size, not the density or number of urban inhabitants (Fuller and Gaston 2009), thus the
management of greenspace for the health of urban inhabitants could be improved in the most-
populous urban areas.
Benefits of public greenspaces often overlap with walkable and community spaces: a park
may have the benefits associated with greenspace, afford easy walking and cycling through the
park via walkable space, and - by adding benches or a childs play equipment creates
community space that will encourage gatherings of people and facilitate interaction. All of
these elements have benefits for human health and wellbeing (Nurse et al. 2010; Miles et al.
2012; Kuo et al. 1998b). For example, the urban heat island effect cause urban areas to be
warmer than their surrounding areas (Frumkin 2002; Whitford et al. 2001), and extreme heat
has negative impacts on urban residents, particularly those at risk of ill-health. Non-traffic-
related air pollution, such as pollens, aeroallergens and toxins, may increase with urban
warming, and this increase will affect the incidence of respiratory disease, asthma, allergies
and mortality (Beggs 2004). Greenspace would help mitigate extreme temperatures in urban
areas. Furthermore, walking or running through natural spaces has more benefits than the same
physical activity in non-natural environments (Bowler et al. 2010 b), so greenspace
that is condusive to physical activity will benefit urban resident s. Su ch studies
investigating links between mortality and greenspace are often based in the United
States or Europe, and as yet attempts to replicate them in New Zealand have failed
(Richardson et al. 2010). This might be due to the greater abundance of greenspace in
New Zealand (Richardson et al. 2010); nevertheless, further research in New Zealand
and similar environments would elucidate.
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Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide (World Health Organization
2013a). Chronic diseases progress due to noncommunicable aspects, such as lifestyle factors
and environmental condition. The four kinds of chronic disease include respiratory diseases,
such as asthma, diabetes, some cancers, and cardiovascular diseases such as stroke (World
Health Organization 2013b). For example, some cancers, which are a leading cause of
mortality worldwide, are preventable (World Health Organization 2008a). A small proportion
(510 %) of cancer cases are attributed to genetic defects, while the remaining cancer cases are
the result of environmental and lifestyle factors, such as tobacco (2530 %), diet (1520 %),
infections, stress, physical (in) activity, environmental pollutants and radiation (Amamd et al.
2008). Urban design that incorporates elements that help to address environmental and lifestyle
factors can help mitigate chronic disease for residents. By creating walkable and community
space in parks that mitigate pollution and reduce stress, local governments could make real
contributions to public health. For example, traffic-related air pollution is associated with
cardiorespiratory deaths (Brunekreef and Holgate 2002). Air pollution, particularly related to
increased traffic, is a physical health concern in urban areas; greenspace has the potential to
mitigate air pollution (Whitford et al. 2001). Further, it is worth noting that “…our chances of
being diagnosed with most chronic illnesses are determined not by the country we come from
but by the country we migrate to (Amamd et al. 2008), suggesting the worthwhile potential
for improving the health of urban environments and residents at any time.
Greenspace is beneficial for mental health (Bergeman 2012). Time spent in greenspace has
been found to reduce the effects of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (Kuo and Faber
Taylor 2004). Children have been reported to have more creative play, more access to adults
and, in a separate study, better concentration and focus based on multiple measures of self-
discipline when exposed to greenspace (Faber Taylor et al. 1998, 2002). Natural environments
have been found to facilitate recovery from mental fatigue as measured by psychophysiolog-
ical tests, and have the potential to create an inoculation effect after the return to daily life
experiences (Hartig et al. 1991, 2003). While many studies confirm that greenspace is
beneficial, it is suggested that the presence of greenspace in neighbourhoods is beneficial for
residents whether they use it or not (Miles et al. 2012).
Stress, common among urban inhabitants, involves any situation that places demands,
whether real or perceived, on an organism that require it to change in order to survive or
achieve homeostasis (Larzelere and Jones 2008). Stress impacts the wellbeing of all life,
including humans, animals and vegetation (Kaplan 1995; Alessio et al. 2005)andcanleadto
disease (McEwen and Stellar 1993). Physical stress may be quantified, such as changes to the
cardiovascular, endocrine, immune and nervous systems. Psychological stress is harder to
define, however it has been thought to be a precursor to mental illness and has been associated
with increased chance of relapse in psychiatric disorders and psychiatric morbidity (Larzelere
and Jones 2008). There are multiple kinds of stressors, including pollution, crime, traffic, noise
and economic strain. Stress from noise and financial strain has been associated with depression
and other mental illnesses (Freeman 1984; Miles et al. 2012; Tagles and Idrovo 2012). Given
the impact of stress on health, it may contribute to general ill-health and adverse health
behaviors in humans, such as heavy drinking or smoking (Nielsen et al. 2008). For animals,
pollution, having to adapt to a human-modified environment, noise and heat have been found
to trigger stress (Ditchkoff et al. 2006;Martinetal.2010;Parteckeetal.2006). Natural spaces
are beneficial for stress recovery (Ulrich et al. 1991). Gardening has been found to reduce
stress, as measured by self-reported mood and salivary cortisol levels (Ward Thompson et al.
2012; Van Den Berg and Custers 2011). Attention restoration theory (ART) (Kaplan 1995)
attributes natural environments with holding involuntary attention, or fascination. While
some sounds or lights in urban environments might be positive, the sheer amount of stimuli
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common in urban environments has the potential to overwhelm some residents with traffic and
construction noise, lights and signs. ART suggests that exposure to nature can restore our
cognition from stimuli overload (Kaplan 1995). Exposure to natural environments has been
found to improve self-ratings of affective stress and a range of physiological measures for
participants more quickly than those who were instead exposed to urban environments (Ulrich
et al. 1991). Functional neuroanatomical research supports the different physiological re-
sponses people have to natural and heavily modified environments (Kim et al. 2010).
Human residents need not be in the midst of a park to reap benefits from greenspace (Han
2009;Kaplan2001; Kaplan and Peterson 1993;Larsenetal.1998; Leather et al. 1998;Moore
1981; Tennessen and Cimprich 1995;Ulrich1984). A view of natural elements out a window
has been reported to expedite recovery from surgery, where participants without a window and
view recovered more slowly (Ulrich 1984), provide office workers with greater job satisfaction
and wellbeing (Kaplan and Peterson 1993; Leather et al. 1998), improve college students
attention (Tennessen and Cimprich 1995), contribute to apartment dwellers wellbeing and
satisfaction with their neighbourhood (Kaplan 2001), and reduce prisoners need for health
care facilities (Moore 1981). The presence of a humble pot plant has been found to have
benefits for those in offices and classrooms (Han 2009;Larsenetal.1998).
In general, being in the presence of natural elements helps people to feel good (Pretty
2004). Some organisations have made recommendations regarding the distance people should
have from greenspace, such as the European Environment Agency, which states that people
should be able to access greenspace with no more than a 15 min walk, and a UK Government
agency, English Nature, recommends that urban residents should have greenspace less than
300 m from their homes (Barbosa et al. 2007).
Biodiversity and ecosystem function
In addition to the three established aspects of urban environments walkable space, commu-
nity space and greenspace biodiversity and ecosystem services make significant contributions
to human wellbeing. The provision of walkable and social spaces in cities is common. Green
or natural spaces vary from a small patch of lawn to an urban forest. The notion of nature in
this regard is often undefined or simplistic a park (that may comprise of lawn and a handful
of trees), a garden (which may only include sparse plants), or an indoor plant. There is
potential for this kind of nature to contribute very little to biodiversity or to the ecosystem
functioning that support human existence. However, promoting biodiversity and ecosystem
functioning has a purpose other than for doing it for its own sake.
Human health and biodiversity are considered to be inextricably linked (Campbell et al.
2011), with recent reviews identifying how biodiversity is critical to biomedical research and
human health (Chivian and Bernstein 2008). In addition to broad benefits to the persistence of
humanity, such as for the development of drugs, biodiversity has potential benefits for urban
residents at a local scale.
The biodiversity of natural areas has been found to be associated with human wellbeing,
with participants across 15 parks reporting that they feel better in the environment with the
greater species richness of plants and, to a lesser extent, birds and butterflies (Fuller et al.
2007). Participants were asked whether their visit to the park helped to clear their minds, think
about personal matters, gain perspective and connect with nature. Participants were able to
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recognise and estimate the level of diversity in the park, demonstrating that the level of
diversity is relevant to the public; this indicates that that not only do greenspaces provide
measurable psychological and physical benefits to visitors, but that the biological complexity
is significant for visitors psychological wellbeing (Fuller et al. 2007). While the same
correlation between actual species richness and human wellbeing was not observed in other
recent work, a positive association between wellbeing and perceived species richness was
identified (Dallimer et al. 2012). The apparent lack of plant and animal identification skills and
therefore actual recognition of biodiversity is relevant, as is the importance of perceived
species richness and human wellbeing. Natural environments can be restorative for people
experiencing attention fatigue (Kaplan 1995). One of the aspects of a restorative environment
is that it must have extent, that is, it rich and coherent enough to be a convincingly natural
environment (that is, with sufficient biodiversity to appear natural) and different from the
usual environment that might be associated with stressors. If human visitors perceive an area to
have greater biodiversity, then it may be more likely to impact their wellbeing due to the
perceived extent. The perception of an environment is critical to how humans respond to it and
thus how it will impact their wellbeing.
Direct impacts to human health, such as severe weather events, pollution, modified
conditions for water-borne toxins, infectious-related illnesses, and animal vectors, are exacer-
bated in urban areas and may be mediated by biodiversity (Epstein 1995). Human-induced
changes to the environment were associated with outbreaks of new infectious diseases in the
90s: the Hantavirus in the US and a novel variant of cholera in Bangladesh and India (Epstein
1995). Urban areas disrupt ecosystems, and climate change is likely to afford further ecological
disruption and the introduction of vector species, such as rats, fleas and mosquitoes (Patz et al.
1996; Pongsiri et al. 2009). Instead of removing natural space in cities to eradicate animal
vectors, attempts to increase the natural biodiversity may not only control the animal vector
population, but will also be beneficial for human residents (Campbell et al. 2011). Wildlife
might be falsely associated with pandemics (for example, bats and badgers for rabies and
tuberculosis respectively), however anthropogenic change is more likely to be the cause
(Campbell et al. 2011). Examples of mechanisms that control infectious disease, such as Lyme
disease, include the presence of other vertebrates diluting the disease, competition between
the animal vector and other species, and predation to keep animal vector numbers low (Chivian
and Bernstein 2004).
Encouraging biodiversity in densely-populated areas, such as cities, may cause human-
animal conflict. Conflicts may be annoying the presence of flies, spiders, or aggressive birds
or dangerous to humans such as venomous snakes or large predators. Two approaches may
assist the public perception of biodiversity in cities. A one health approach aims to restrict
zoonotic disease risks and encourage overall wellbeing of human and animals (Rabinowitz and
Conti 2010). Maintenance is required around residential areas where wildlife exists, and
policies introduced to ensure the one health of humans and animals in communities.
Examples of maintenance around homes include managing rubbish to prevent attracting
animals, removing standing water that could be a breeding environment for mosquitoes, the
prompt disposing of faeces, cleaning bird feeders and keeping firewood a certain distance from
homes to prevent or distance rat and mice nests, and where ticks are an issue keeping grass
cut short (Rabinowitz and Conti 2010). A second approach to address human-animal conflicts
involves ecological education. Studies of Norwegian sheep farmers have found that famers in
areas of high livestock loss were less negative about large carnivores than others, with the
authors suggesting that this is due to a greater appreciation of the ecology of predation (Bjerke
et al. 2000; Vitterso et al. 1998). Education about biodiversity and humans role in it is key to
affecting the values that underlie human attitudes and behaviors.
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While greenspace has been found to benefit human health and wellbeing in urban areas,
there are other factors that impact human health (Verheij et al. 2008). Feelings of safety have
been associated with increased trees, however it is not always the trees that affect perceptions
of safety. A sense of social cohesion allows residents to ignore anti-social behaviors in favor of
their local greenspace (Seaman et al. 2010). Where crime-rates are low in the immediate
vicinity, residents are also more likely to spend time in the greenspace (Kazmierczak 2013).
When trees and grass are well-maintained, there is a greater feeling of safety for residents
(Kazmierczak 2013; Kuo et al. 1998a). It is therefore important for local governments to not
only ensure that natural spaces in their cities are biodiverse, but that they are also maintained to
ensure that residents experience maximum benefits by using those spaces.
In practice, there are various means of measuring biodiversity in cities. The percentage of
greenspace, specifically trees, is positively associated with ecological performance (Whitford
et al. 2001). There is a range of work measuring the species diversity of urban greenspace,
such as increased avian diversity and spaces with larger patch sizes than other urban areas
(Strohbach et al. 2013). Tree cavities are also important to provide habitats for wildlife,
suggesting that mature and diverse trees are needed in order to support wildlife biodiversity
(Strohbach et al. 2013). Natural areas greenspace and bodies of water might provide a
range of benefits to local residents, however designing for biodiversity is more complex. An
increase in species number may not result in more biodiversity that is native to the area, for
example, in relation to introduced species. Whether the same benefits are realized from this
modified biodiversity remains to be seen. Further research regarding the quality of greenspace,
or the biodiversity in urban areas, continues to provide examples of how urban planners might
design for biodiversity.
Ecosystem services
Human health and persistence is contingent on the health of the human environment and
ecosystem functioning (Campbell et al. 2011; Jackson 2003). A range of ecosystem services,
occur when ecosystems are healthy and functioning. The UN has framed ecosystem services in
terms of benefits for humankind, including provisioning services (such as production of food,
timber or other resources), regulating services (such as air quality or water regulation,
pollination and storm protection), cultural services (such as natural assets for recreation and
people to have a cultural identity), and supporting services (such as soil formation, biogeo-
chemistry and primary productivity) (United Nations 2005). However ecosystem services exist
independent from their benefits to humankind.
Considering an organisms health or wellbeing in conjunction with the ecosystem it inhabits
is common in ecology, and, after a recent report by the World Health Organization on outdoor
air pollution, an emerging concern for the health professions. After reviewing the scientific
literature, the WHO has concluded that outdoor air pollution, in addition to causing respiratory
and heart diseases, is a key cause of lung and bladder cancers (2013). This range of illnesses
could be reduced by ensuring ecosystem functioning. Ecosystem health is a simple concept,
describing a state of system organization, resilience and vigor, as well as the absence of signs
of ecosystem distress (Rapport et al. 1998). A healthy ecosystem is resilient to and/or free
from degradation and stress, able to maintain its organization and productivity, and is likely to
be biodiverse (Tzoulas et al. 2007;Rapportetal.1998). Disruption to ecosystems,
caused by habitat loss, air pollution, water quality, heavy metals, neurotoxicity and
changes in climate, are likely to impact humans and animals, but also ecosystem
function (Frumkin 2001). Residents of urban areas, where ecosystem services are
compromised by development and therefore less biodiverse greenspace, vehicular air
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pollution and climate changes, a re likely to be impacted by the degradation of their
Outcomes of ecosystem services support the survival of humans and animals. The critical
nature of ecosystem services in general cannot be emphasized enough to ensure human health
and wellbeing. With the framing of ecosystem services as goods and services for humans, the
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (United Nations 2005) has influenced the concept of
ecosystem services in policy (Ernstson 2013). Differences in how local governments manage
ecosystems have the potential to create social injustice, or environmental injustice (Ernstson
2013). Maintaining a biodiverse greenspace or clearing it in favour of an enclosed, air-
conditioned shopping center and car park will produce different outcomes for residents
wellbeing. The inequitable distribution of resources, money and power, health outcomes are
defined by the social situation in which people are born, grow, live, work and age (World
Health Organization 2008b). Societies that experience inequality are less healthy (Gluckman
and Thuotte 2008). For example, the life expectancy of men in Glasgow, Scotland, differs from
54 to 82 years depending on where they live and the kind of work they do (Hanlon, Walsh, and
Whyte 2006). However, natural space is associated with high levels of wellbeing, including
socioeconomic benefits and health equality (Whitford et al. 2001; Mitchell and Popham 2008).
While an urban environment relies on its surrounds to provide the ecosystem services it
requires, local ecosystem services such as air filtration and micro-climate regulation are
important for urban residents at a smaller scale (Bolund and Hunhammar 1999). Because
the maintenance of ecosystems and their functioning in and around urban areas is critical to all
residents wellbeing, ecosystem services become a matter of social justice (Ernstson 2013;
United Nations 2005). While there are legal cases that support this (for example, Lazarua and
Houck 2005), the principle is far from settled. Further research is needed to ensure that
ecosystems and ecosystem services are not compromised beyond a functioning threshold by
anthropocentric activity, including urban design and planning, and that any ecosystem disser-
vices or perceived disservices are addressed. Key to this research is evaluation of policy and
urban design and planning options (Perrings et al. 2011). The outcomes of ecosystem
functioning are not limited to conservation reserves, so the importance of maintaining eco-
system services should have widespread public awareness (Folke et al. 1996). Initiatives that
raise residents awareness about the importance of ecosystem services are encouraged, as well
as evaluation of their success (Hubacek and Kronenberg 2013).
In order for the management of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning to become common in
cities, it is important for urban planners and ecologists to realise that their work is associated
with human wellbeing. This is obvious for policy development and the medical sciences, but
not always so clear for other disciplines. Planning and designing urban environments to
enhance residents wellbeing is critical to the growing human population. The key aspects
already established the walkable, community and greenspaces are relevant. Without them,
urban residents would be in a much worse state. However , green or natural spaces are so varied
that their benefits to urban residents vary. In this respect, ensuring the provision of greenspace
can be a simplistic interpretation of designing for wellbeing. In order to make a genuine impact
on human wellbeing, urban ecosystems should have the ecological integrity required in order
for them to function.
Ecologists have much to contribute to the design and planning of urban ecosystems. Urban
ecology and the natural sciences have the capacity to study and advise on the state of
Urban Ecosyst
biodiversity and its management, and study the changes to ecosystem functions, such as
biochemical cycles, hydrologic systems and changes in climate (Grimm et al. 2008). The
ecology of cities looks at the system of non-human life and human life in urban areas,
acknowledging that the human influence is critical to the understanding of urban ecosystem
functioning (Niemelä et al. 2009).
It is a goal of urban design to impact how residents engage their environment, but in
conjunction with urban ecology and the medical sciences, urban design could make a more
significant contribution to urban residents wellbeing (Jackson 2003). Biodiversity and eco-
system function should be considered during the design and planning process. Governments,
whether local or national, have the ab ility to drive policy; for example, the European
Environment Agencys policy that urban residents have a maximum distance from their homes
to accessible greenspace (Barbosa et al. 2007). In addition, governments can influence and
educate the public through their policies and community engagement; for example, by
providing recycling bins, regular collection and so on, governments can influence social norms
and individual behaviors (Viscusi et al. 201 1). It is important to realise that multiple disciplines
should be involved in both the education and policy-development as well as in how the urban
environment is built and managed. In order to transcend the established and potentially
simplistic applications of urban design that affect human wellbeing, biodiversity maintenance
is critical. As outlined above, biodiversity is essential to the integrity of natural spaces. A dual
outcome of these cumulative influences should result in a functioning ecosystem, which would
in turn ensure the flourishing of human residents and their wellbeing.
Concluding remarks
The most effective way to ensure human wellbeing in the most populous environments, cities,
is to design, plan and maintain urban environments with key features in mind. Some of those
key features are already established in urban design and planning, such as providing walkable
and community spaces. In recent years, the benefits of greenspace in urban environments have
become well known, with numerous links to the medical sciences, including physical and
mental health, and micro-climate protection. Some greenspace, however, can be variable and
potentially simplistic in its structure and therefore the benefits it might provide to local humans
and animals. To avoid this risk and potential waste of resources in maintaining low-quality
greenspace, promoting biodiversity is important. Biodiversity has been linked with human
wellbeing, however there is still work to be done to identify the thresholds of influence that
biodiversity has on surrounding spatial scales. Biodiversity is also integral to the healthy
functioning of an ecosystem. Human wellbeing is contingent on ecosystem functioning the
air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink all require functioning ecological
integrity. A range of ecological work has demonstrated that ecosystems and biodiversity are
affected by urbanisation, such as how different vegetation can support healthy soi l
(Edmondson, Davies, McCormack, Gaston, and Leake 2014) and reduce land surface tem-
perature (Li, Zhou, Ouyang, Xu, and Zheng 2012). Multiple models of the links between
human health and ecosystem services have been suggested (see Tzoulas et al. 2007 for a
review), and some communities, cities and countries endorse them. However, there are
multiple interpretations of how to achieve these links, for example the United States Environ-
mental Protection Agency (EPA) and Natural England both support the development of green
infrastructure, but the EPA has a focus on water management (Environmental Protection
Agency 2014) and Natural England has a focus on green and blue spaces for recreation and
food production (Natural England 2013). Different demographics are impacted in different
Urban Ecosyst
ways, for example heatwaves are most likely to have negative effects on the elderly (United
Nations 2005), and some of the areas most in need, such as dense urban populations in
developing nations, experience some of the worst environmental degradation (United Nations
2005). On one hand, biodiversity and ecosystem function is critical to human health and
wellbeing. However, on a policy and governance level, it is impractical to suggest a generic
solution to supporting biodiversity and ecosystem functioning as solutions will vary between
neighbourhoods, cities and countries. It may be that a series of principles, such as increasing
biodiversity and supporting ecosystem function, may be more useful to guide policies,
ecological monitoring and urban design to suit the needs of urban residents across various
scales (such as, local or city-wide) (Jackson 2003).
By integrating multidisciplinary research, providing informed policy, educating key re-
search to the public to influence social norms, and transcending the established management
approaches of urban environments, human wellbeing can be enhanced. Ultimately, it is
important for governments and disciplines to understand that the management of biodiversity
and ecosystem functions is central to the maintenance of human wellbeing in cities. Ecologists
and urban designers have enormous potential to contribute to the overall health of urban
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Urban Ecosyst
... As such, cities have adopted broad strategies to mitigate urban heat island effects by both reducing heat gains (e.g., vegetation cover and density of impervious surfaces) as well as promoting heat losses (e.g., evapotranspiration and evaporation) via the influence and design of green and blue spaces [20,21]. These mitigation strategies, however, often overlook functional ecology in advance of the incidence and cover of green spaces [22][23][24][25]. The result is a recombinant ecology of species interactions that share neither an evolutionary history [16] nor a natural history [1]. ...
... Ecosystem services are ecosystem processes that serve to advance human health benefits, such as the relationship between urban tree richness and the reduction in asthma incidence via improved air quality [26]. Environmental management strategies that integrate knowledge of the functional ecology of urban greening initiatives further cultivate diverse ecosystem services [22,27,28]. This approach requires both an exploration [28] and characterization [27] of the recombinant ecology of urban species [1,22]. ...
... Environmental management strategies that integrate knowledge of the functional ecology of urban greening initiatives further cultivate diverse ecosystem services [22,27,28]. This approach requires both an exploration [28] and characterization [27] of the recombinant ecology of urban species [1,22]. For example, despite the ecological, physiological, and adaptive susceptibility of plant species to heat stress in urban environments [16,29], city greening strategies to mitigate urban heat island effects often tout the expansion of street trees [30]. ...
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As urbanization draws more people to metropolitan areas, a steadfast increase in impervious surfaces ultimately contributes to a pronounced urban heat island effect. While city greening strategies to mitigate urban thermal effects often tout street-tree cover expansion, many plant species are susceptible to heat stress, limiting survivorship, primary productivity, and ecosystem services. Our research objective was to characterize how urban imperviousness impacted the photosynthetic traits of four sympatric tree species in Old Town La Verne, California. We found that while Camphor trees (Camphora officinarum) and Carrotwood trees (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) did not differ significantly in photosynthetic traits at sites with impervious and pervious surfaces, both Coast Live Oak trees (Quercus agrifolia) and Olive trees (Olea europaea) showed significant differences in leaf stomatal length and density. Our findings suggest that the photosynthetic traits of some exotic tree species may be less susceptible to surface permeability than either native or floristically indigenous tree species. We propose that urban greening initiatives adopt a temporal strategy for mitigating urban heat island effects, starting with an urban canopy composed of exotic trees more resilient to impervious surfaces and later transitioning to a recombinant canopy ecology of floristically relevant tree species suited for the soil permeability native to southern California.
... The rapid increase and the high population densities associated with inappropriate urban development and planning have led to problems such as air pollution, flash flooding, and mental health issues (Jackson, 2003;Taylor & Hochuli, 2015). The migration of people into cities now means that more than 50% of the world's population resides in urban areas and the figure is projected to reach 68% by 2050 (WHO, 2021). ...
... A city such as Canberra, Australia, has used five themes in its planning strategy: compact and efficient, diverse, sustainable, resilient, liveable, and, finally, accessible (ACT Government, 2019). Biodiversity and ecosystem management have also been found to be important elements in ensuring human well-being in urban areas (Taylor & Hochuli, 2015). ...
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A structure is taken to be a green building if it benefits the environment, people, and the economy. For a building to be ratified as green, the building owners must adhere to specific guidelines and requirements. A green building involves using sustainable practices from construction to completion, as well as having long-term positive effects on users and the environment. Retrofitting vertical greenery offers various benefits, such as increasing indoor air quality, and is an attractive and effective way of achieving green building rating points. This study adopts an integrative review methodology to assess, analyse, and synthesize the current literature, and highlights the potential of green retrofitting for improving indoor environmental quality. The requirements for three green building certification schemes were reviewed and it is concluded that vertical greenery (outdoor and indoor) can potentially contribute to give value/points of the indoor environmental quality rating criteria that are used. The findings also indicate that, vertical greenery is applicable for retrofitting existing or conventional buildings, so they meet green building certification.
... The decreasing urban biodiversity has hazardous effects on the ecology of cities and the well-being of urban residents. Neglecting the importance of urban biodiversity will hinder sustainable development (Elmqvist et al., 2013;Lambert et al., 2021;Marselle et al., 2021;Naeem et al., 2016;Taylor & Hochuli, 2015). ...
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1. Urbanisation, as an unstoppable global phenomenon, has led to decreasing connec-tivity between habitats, which gives strong pressure on organisms. Current research has barely investigated urban effects on aquatic insect species traits. Here, we investigated how inter-and intraspecific variations of flight-related morphological traits change along an urban gradient in three species of Dytiscidae at different landscape scales. 2. We collected specimens in 30 urban wetlands in Helsinki, Finland. We measured flight-related traits, including body length, pronotum length, elytron length, and the hind wing length and area. With linear models, we modelled how flight-related traits of the three species responded to the percentage of impermeable surfaces in buffers with nine different radii: 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 800, 1000 and 1200 m. 3. Our results show that (a) Ilybius ater was not affected by urbanisation in traits, indicating that some species are good dispersers and pre-adapted to urbanisation. (b) The other two species, Acilius canaliculatus and Hydaticus seminiger, exhibited different patterns along the urban gradient, suggesting species utilise different strategies to cope with movement barriers in urban landscapes. (c) Species were affected by urbanisation at different scales, suggesting species have different ability to adjust morphological plasticity to endure movement barriers caused by urbanisation. 4. This study reveals that urban land-use change can have complex effects on inter-and intraspecific variation of aquatic insects. We highlight that urban planning should consider at which scale target species can endure urbanisation, to create an effective network of urban ponds for aquatic biodiversity conservation.
... Pelatihan bagaimana memberikan pelayanan tentang akomodasi serta tata ruang (layout) agar wisatawan nyaman dalam berwisata dan masyarakat Desa Keranggan dapat merasakan hasilnya.B. LANDASAN TEORITiga dimensi keberlanjutan adalah planet (lingkungan), manusia (sosial), dan keuntungan (ekonomi)(Taylor, 2015); they are commonly known as the "triple bottom line" (TBL) (Elkington, 2004) Kelestarian lingkungan adalah langkah menuju kapitalisme yang bertanggung jawab dengan penggunaan sumber daya lingkungan, proses ekologis, dan keanekaragaman hayati secara optimal(Acharya & Halpenny, 2013;Janjua et al., 2021;Sati, 2020). Tanggung jawab sosial perusahaan (CSR) adalah rangkaian sosial dari pembangunan berkelanjutan(Ashrafi, 2018; Doan et al., 2022;Muller, 2017;Sati, 2020;Wibowo & Dornberger, 2022) mendefinisikan CSR secara luas sebagai organisasi yang berkontribusi terhadap pembangunan manusia dan sosial dengan mengikuti standar etika yang tinggi.Homestay menawarkan layanan yang dipersonalisasi dalam lingkungan yang kecil dan seperti di rumah sendiri serta memberikan pengalaman akomodasi yang berbeda dari hotel standar bagi para tamu(Qiu et al., 2021) Homestay adalah tempat menginap oleh turis, pelajar di sebuah rumah yang diselenggarakan oleh keluarga setempat di Cara penyambutan tamu, baik proses check in dan check out juga perlu untuk diberikan pelatihan 4. Perlengkapan kebutuhan homestay (kotak p3k, apar, tempat sampah, cermin, dll) E. KESIMPULAN Kegiatan pengabdian kepada masyarakat ini sangat bermanfaat dan berguna bagi pengelola homestay di Kampung Wisata Keranggan dalam menambah pengetahuan cara membangun dan mengelola homestay yang layak untuk memenuhi kebutuhan para wisatawan yang berkunjung ke kampung wisata. ...
Community service is an activity of practicing knowledge for the community in order to add insight and skills. The development of Kampung Keranggan ecotourism activities is showing encouraging results with the increasing number of visitors and activities being held at that location. However, there are still inadequate accommodation facilities for guests staying at these locations. Therefore this community service activity is carried out with the aim of: (1) Helping the community improve the quality of homestays (tourist lodges) as a means of educating tourists about the environment (2) Providing knowledge and skills for homestay owners / managers to be able to provide the best service and comfort for guests , in order to support the management of tourist villages and the welfare of the surrounding community. The results of community service activities can be concluded that the community's understanding of how to manage a homestay has increased, especially in maintaining the cleanliness and comfort of the home and how to manage food for homestay guests.
... There has been growing interest in POS research due to the evidence that nature positively impacts human wellbeing (Frumkin, 2013;Taylor & Hochuli, 2015). This is especially important in cities, where both social and ecological components, together with green spaces are under stress as a result of urbanisation (Taylor & Hochuli, 2017). ...
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Smart City Mission is a major initiative of the Government of India to transform Indian cities according to global standards of well-being and quality of life. One of the major provisions of the mission is to provide parks, green spaces, and open spaces (together termed as Public Open Spaces or POS) in Indian cities. Prayagraj is one of the first 100 cities selected under the mission for development as a smart city. In the current study, we have tried to assess the current status of Public Open Space in Prayagraj with the help of remote sensing and fieldwork data. The result thus obtained is then compared with global and Indian standards to understand how much Prayagraj lags behind other cities. This is done to understand the challenges that the Smart City Mission faces in making Prayagraj a smart city with a world-class urban green environment. The study shows that the current status of Public Open Space is very poor in Prayagraj. The city not only lags behind other world and Indian cities in terms of per capita availability of Public Open Space and percentage of area under Public Open Space but also falls short of the minimum required value of both these measures as recommended by United Nations-Habitat and World Bank.
... Sustainable homestay tourism is derived from the parental paradigm of sustainable development. The three sustainability dimensions are planet (environment), people (social) and profit (economic) (Taylor and Hochuli, 2015); they are commonly known as the "triple bottom line" (TBL) (Elkington, 2004). In the present study, the TBL is the primary theory which emphasises using the three bottom lines (e.g. ...
Purpose The purpose of this study is to explore the factors that influence sustainable homestay development and suggest a model for adopting and implementing the homestay concept and its contribution towards sustainable rural development in Uttarakhand, India. Design/methodology/approach Researchers have collected a total of 360 responses from tourists, homestay owners/villagers and managers associated with homestay businesses in Uttarakhand to examine, assess and analyse the data with the help of different statistical tools such as SPSS and AMOS to validate the concept of homestay and its impact on sustainable rural development. Findings The analysis uncovered that collaborative consumption, sharing economy and family feeling and community development are positively associated with and, in return, community development affects sustainable development. Research limitations/implications This study enables us to explain the “collaborative consumption” in the context of homestays functional in the state of Uttarakhand only. Practical implications The study results in evidence of crucial implications for policymakers. Policymakers should focus on opportunities in tourism and its integration with economic, environmental and social goals. Homestays will be new avenues for economic and sustainable development. Social implications Homestay offers reasonable and cheap lodging for tourists within the existing ancient homes, typically restored for the guests to form a comfortable stay. Homestay is adopted to facilitate community-based tourism in the state. It also helps in developing a source of livelihood for the community. It is helpful for individuals’ economic, social and aesthetic desires to be consummated by maintaining cultural integrity, ecological processes, biodiversity and natural support systems through homestay, as social entrepreneurship. Homestay has been envisaged as a driver to realise the sustainable development goals by steering the pathways to a property future for all involved within the elected hill states. Originality/value This study validates a new homestay model that will be useful for developing community and achieving sustainable development.
... These three dimensions of sustainability are also known as the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) (Elkington, 2004). As indicated by the TBL theory, the dimensions of sustainability marketing are: people (social), planet (environment), and profit (economic) (Taylor & Hochuli, 2015). The TBL approaches are widely recognised by scholars, educators, planners, policymakers, and business operators. ...