Cities and urban areas are critical components of global sustainability as loci of sustainability progress and drivers of global transformation, especially in terms of energy efficiency, climate change adaptation, and social innovation. However, urban ecosystems have not been incorporated adequately into urban governance and planning for resilience despite mounting evidence that urban resident health and wellbeing is closely tied to the quality, quantity, and diversity of urban ecosystem services. We suggest that urban ecosystem services provide key links for bridging planning, management and governance practices seeking transitions to more sustainable cities, and serve an important role in building resilience in urban systems. Emerging city goals for resilience should explicitly incorporate the value of urban ES in city planning and governance. We argue that cities need to prioritize safeguarding of a resilient supply of ecosystem services to ensure livable, sustainable cities, especially given the dynamic nature of urban systems continually responding to global environmental change. Building urban resilience of and through ecosystem services, both in research and in practice, will require dealing with the dynamic nature of urban social-ecological systems and incorporating multiple ways of knowing into governance approaches to resilience including from scientists, practitioners, designers and planners.

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Ecosystem Services
Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT)

McPhearson, T., Andersson, E., Elmqvist, T., & Frantzeskaki, N. (2015). Resilience of and through urban ecosystem services. Ecosystem Services, 12, 152–156. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2014.07.012