What are the traits of a social-ecological system: towards a framework in support of urban sustainability

Summary

To ensure that cities and urban ecosystems support human wellbeing and overall quality of life we need conceptual frameworks that can connect different scientific disciplines as well as research and practice. In this perspective, we explore the potential of a traits framework for understanding social-ecological patterns, dynamics, interactions, and tipping points in complex urban systems.

To do so, we discuss what kind of framing, and what research, that would allow traits to (1) link the sensitivity of a given environmental entity to different globally relevant pressures, such as land conversion or climate change to its social-ecological consequences; (2) connect to human appraisal and diverse bio-cultural sense-making through the different cues and characteristics people use to detect change or articulate value narratives, and (3) examine how and under what conditions this new approach may trigger, inform, and support decision making in land/resources management at different scales.

Information

Link to centre authors: Andersson, Erik, McPhearson, Timon
Publication info: Andersson, E., Haase, D., Anderson, P. et al. What are the traits of a social-ecological system: towards a framework in support of urban sustainability. npj Urban Sustain 1, 14 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42949-020-00008-4