Journal Article

Preferences for cultural urban ecosystem services: Comparing attitudes, perception, and use

Ecosystem Services, Volume 12, April 2015: 187-199

Urban green spaces, including parks, provide numerous ecosystem services (ES) for city inhabitants. Besides provisioning and regulating services, they also provide cultural services by giving people opportunities to recreate and experience nature in the city. The focus of this paper is on cultural ES provided by urban parks in four European cities (Berlin, Stockholm, Rotterdam, and Salzburg). We compare attitudes towards ES provision, perception, and use of urban parks. In particular, we compare the perception of several park characteristics to their stated importance for park visitors. Results indicate that there are similarities between cities regarding attitudes towards ES provision and the importance of different park characteristics for visitors. Park use patterns such as the share of regular park visitors or the activities carried out, however, vary significantly between cities. The city-specific context, including park availability, quality, and perception but also the inhabitants’ preferences for cultural ES and existing substitutes, is thus crucial for urban planning.