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Urban landscaping choices and people’s selection of plant traits in Cape Town, South Africa
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6711-1168
2018 (English)In: Environmental Science and Policy, ISSN 1462-9011, E-ISSN 1873-6416, Vol. 85, p. 182-192Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

As cities increasingly become the dominant settlement form across the world, it is critical to gain a deeper insight into their dynamics, in order to better direct environmental management towards enhancing urban sustainability and environmental quality. People are a key driver shaping the ecological makeup of cities, not least through landscaping actions and choices. In this study, we explore social factors shaping plant selection in Cape Town, South Africa through interviews with stakeholders responsible for managing and landscaping across three land use types: private residential gardens, public parks and open space, and conservation areas. We combine an interdisciplinary, multi-scalar framework on residential landscape dynamics and a plant traits lens to structure our approach to examining the influence of social factors on plant selection across spatial and institutional scales in the city, from a bottom-up perspective. Residents name a variety of reasons for plant selection at the household scale related to plant traits, including aesthetics, utility (e.g., food provision), environmental suitability, and personal symbolic meanings. Parks managers select for ecological suitability as well as aesthetic concerns, and conservation managers select chiefly for ecological integrity. All stakeholders describe factors at other scales (e.g., property structure, government policies) that influence their plant selection. We indicate that a complementary patchwork of private gardens and public open spaces could serve as a source of trait diversity and provide a variety of ecosystem functions and services in the urban landscape, and suggest that management and policy efforts can focus on leveraging synergies towards this end. This study contributes to a greater understanding of the social-ecological dynamics in a global south city and biodiversity hotspot.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 85, p. 182-192
Keywords [en]
Landscaping preferences, Plant traits, Social-ecological system, Cities, Environmental management, Ecosystem services
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Ecology
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-158512DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2018.02.010ISI: 000435049300022OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-158512DiVA, id: diva2:1237403
Available from: 2018-08-08 Created: 2018-08-08 Last updated: 2018-08-13Bibliographically approved
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