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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Urban ecosystem services in strategic planning in Swedish municipalities

Sang, Asa Ode; Hagemann, Frederik Aagaard; Ekelund, Nils; Svannel, Jessica


Research to date on urban ecosystem services has mainly been conducted in large cities, particularly in China, the USA and some European countries. This study examined the provision of urban ecosystem services in a Swedish municipality context, based on interviews with municipal stakeholders in strategic management and planning from six municipalities and a review of existing publications readily available to practitioners. The analysis focused on (1) the ecosystem services explicitly covered, (2) whether multifunctionality was covered and specific synergies and trade-offs identified and, (3) the spatial scale and context used for ecosystem services (valuation/mapping, planning, design or maintenance) in practical application. The results showed that regulatory services are very much the focus in municipal operations as well as in publications available to practitioners. This is reflected in the implementation of the concept through problem solving often related to regulatory services, using multifunctionality and win-win situations in ecosystem service supply. These findings contribute to the growing body of work exploring how the concept of ecosystem services is adapted and utilised in practice.


Urban ecosystem service; Practical implementation; Strategic planning and management; Municipality

Published in

Urban Ecosystems
2021, Volume: 24, number: 6, pages: 1343-1357
Publisher: SPRINGER