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Social and political aspects of urban ecology: Possibilities and constraints for civic actors to influence urban green area planning at Årstafältet, Stockholm
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology Education. (Natural Resource Management, Dept of Systems Ecology)
2009 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (university diploma), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Answers to fundamental questions about pattern and process in the ecological and human world often comes from within the boundaries of one discipline or another, neglecting the relationships between the ecological and social systems. One manifestation of these relationships, which also forms the focus of this study, is conflicts over how to use urban green areas. Various scholars imply that civil society organisations and individual citizens can play an important role in articulating the ecological and social values that exist in much disputed green areas, and can therefore create a “protective story” to prevent exploitation. Following these implications and using a social network or social capital perspective, this study investigates a current conflict concerning Årstafältet, or the Årsta field, in Stockholm, which is suggested for exploitation, and focuses on the civic actors’ ability to participate in influencing the future of this green area. Although the conflict is still ongoing, the actors in the case study have at the present stage not been successful in protecting their green area. The results from interviews and participatory observations show the importance of accessing useful artefacts to incorporate into a protective story, and being able to present the artefacts in appropriate social arenas something that has been a limitation for the actors of Årstafältet. The actor groups’ ability to balance bridging and bonding social capital is also a factor that can have affected their success. The study further reveals a lack of democracy in the decision making process and suggest that public actors impede the participation of civic actors in contributing in the planning of urban green areas rather than facilitate their participation. In addition to highlighting some of the social and political factors that affect the emergence of green spatial structures in urban landscapes this study also establishes that the ecological perspective has been neglected in the case of Årstafältet. Following the results of the study a contemporary approach of studying urban ecology which includes attention on the mixture of social, political and ecological perspectives is encouraged for future research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 39 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-37028OAI: diva2:292190
2009-09-15, Vågen, Kräftan, Kräftriket 2B, Dept of Systems Ecology, 10691 Stockholm, 10:30 (English)

Available from: 2010-02-11 Created: 2010-02-05 Last updated: 2010-02-11Bibliographically approved

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