Considerations in the valuation of urban green space: Accounting for user participation

Matthew Dennis, Philip James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within the ecosystem services framework, valuations of natural capital have primarily taken a landscape-scale approach. The generation of transferable monetary values for individual ecosystems has likewise depended on assessments carried out at large spatial scales. Such methods, however, lack adequate regard for complex natural habitats. This complexity is heightened in urban areas where green spaces provide multiple services according to use and participation. Hence, there is a need to acknowledge the unique value of urban nature, and the socially-mediated nature of its productivity. This need was addressed through a study of collectively managed green spaces in a north-west England conurbation (UK). Ninety-one sites were identified, followed by a case study of twelve sites assessing their value across four ecosystem services. A subsequent projection of the value of stakeholder-led land management was calculated and compared to an existing reference for the value of urban green space from The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity database. The study found that collectively managed sites contribute considerable added-value to urban natural capital. In addition, the work highlights the shortcomings of applying transferable values to multi-functional habitat types, calling for a closer consideration of social-ecological contexts in the valuation of ecosystem services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-129
Number of pages10
JournalEcosystem Services
Early online date13 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


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