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Social movements and ecosystem services: the role of social network structure in protecting and managing urban green areas in Stockholm
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Systems Ecology.
Responsible organisation
2008 (English)In: Ecology & society, ISSN 1708-3087, Vol. 13, no 2Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Exploitation and degradation of urban green areas reduce their capacity to sustain ecosystem services. In protecting and managing these areas, research has increasingly focused on actors in civil society. Here, we analyzed an urban movement of 62 civil-society organizations—from user groups, such as boating clubs and allotment gardens, to culture and nature conservation groups—that have protected the Stockholm National Urban Park. We particularly focused on the social network structure of the movement, i.e., the patterns of interaction between movement organizations. The results reveal a core-periphery structure where core and semi-core organizations have deliberately built political connections to authorities, whereas the periphery gathers all user groups involved in day-to-day activities in the park. We show how the core-periphery structure has facilitated collective action to protect the park, but we also suggest that the same social network structure might simultaneously have constrained collaborative ecosystem management. In particular, user groups with valuable local ecological knowledge have not been included in collaborative arenas. Our case points out the inherent double-nature of all social networks as they facilitate some collective actions, yet constrain others. The paper argues for incorporating social network structure in theories and applications of adaptive governance and co-management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 13, no 2
Keyword [en]
adaptive governance, core-periphery structure, ecosystem management, social movements, social network analysis, urban ecosystem services
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25396OAI: diva2:199650
Available from: 2008-09-04 Created: 2008-09-03 Last updated: 2011-05-16Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. In Rhizomia: Actors, Networks and Resilience in Urban Landscapes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>In Rhizomia: Actors, Networks and Resilience in Urban Landscapes
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

With accelerating urbanization it is crucial to understand how urban ecosystems play a part in generating ecosystem services for urban dwellers, such as clean water, spaces for recreation, stress relief and improved air quality. An equally important question relate to who gets to enjoy these benefits, i.e. the distribution of ecosystem services, and how issues of power and equity influence the management of ecosystems. Through case studies from the urban landscape of Stockholm, this doctoral thesis engages with these perspectives through combining ecological theory with social theory, including social network analysis, actor-network theory and social movement theory. Strategies for how to improve urban ecosystem management are presented along with frameworks for how to analyze issues of power and equity in relation to natural resource management.

Paper I shows that ecosystem management can be studied through analyzing the structure of social networks, i.e. the patterns of relations between agencies, stake-holders and user groups. Paper II and Paper III analyze, based on a network survey of 62 civil society organizations and in-depth interviews, a transformational process of how an urban local movement managed to protect a large urban green area from exploitation (The Stockholm National Urban Park). Paper IV discusses, based on several case studies from Stockholm, a conducive network structure for linking managers and user groups (e.g. allotment gardens, cemetery managers, and urban planners) across spatial ecological scales so as to improve urban green area management. Paper V presents a framework to analyze the social-ecological dynamics behind the generation and distribution of ecosystem services in urban landscapes.

The thesis points towards the notion of "a social production of ecosystem services" and argues for deeper engagement with urban political ecology and critical geography to inform governance and collective action in relation to urban ecosystems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Systemekologiska institutionen, 2008. 198 p.
urban ecosystem services, green space, social network analysis, social movements, actor-networks, transformation, ecosystem management, scale mismatch, co-management, governance, broker, conservation, Stockholm
National Category
Research subject
Natural Resources Management
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8137 (URN)978-91-7155-725-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-09-26, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 C, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2008-09-04 Created: 2008-09-03Bibliographically approved

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