Monday 5
Green and Blue Urban Resilience
Luc Doumenc
› 11:05 - 18:00 (6h55)
› Montpellier
The role of Spatial Experiences of Urban Nature in Re-connecting with the Biosphere
Stephan Barthel  1@  , Lars Marcus, Matteo Giusti * @
1 : Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm Univresity  (SRC)  -  Website
SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden -  Suède
* : Corresponding author

Current rates and levels of global urbanization processes are unprecedented in history and threaten to put acute stress on remote ecosystems as well as on the capacity of social, economic and ecological systems in cities to deliver the necessary services for human wellbeing. By 2050, the world population is expected to increase to 9.3 billion from 7.1 billion in 2013. During this same period, urban populations will increase to 6.3 billion from 3.6 billion. As urban populations will consume most of the planets ecosystem services (Grimm et al., 2008), experiences and attitudes of urban dwellers are potentially pivotal in a time when democracies desperately seek a transition towards a sustainable stewardship of the biosphere (Colding & Barthel, 2013). The gravity of the issue is about whether urban citizens of tomorrow will be willing to support something they no longer regard as directly relevant to their lives (Bendt et al., 2013).


It has been suggested that the early stages of childhood are critical time-windows for the development of an emotional bond with nature and lifelong commitments (Chawla, 1998; Kellert, 2002). Alarmingly, urbanization seems to sever perceived and experienced relations between people and nature as modern life-styles are adopted and as the accessibility to physically engage with natural environments is reduced (Stokes, 2006; Theodori et al., 1998). The literature specifies that absence of first hand nature experiences hinder development of cognitive and emotional frames, which in turn underpin attitudes and pro-environmental behavior (Schultz 2000; Dunlap et al. 2000; Kals et al., 1999). This alienation process has been termed the ‘extinction-of-experience' (Miller, 2005; Pyle, 1978), a sort of ongoing generational amnesia among city peoples about their relationships to, and dependence upon, diverse ecosystems (Kahn, 2002; Barthel et al. 2013). Does the design of green spaces in metropolitan landscape have a role in the establishment of cognitive and emotional attributes of urban citizens that go in line with pro-environmental behaviour? Colding and Barthel (2013) recognized the need for thinking about ‘cognitive resilience building' in relation to the above issue, and they hence put tremendous responsibility on the professions of urban scholars, designers and planners for producing urban spaces that can foster potentials for producing positive affections towards diverse ecosystems.


This session will discuss the spatial and temporal scales at which nature experiences in cities occur, and how such knowledge may help urban developers to include nature experiences in the built environment, and in the daily routines of urban dwellers. We welcome contributions that critically examine the observed and potential role of accessibility, quality and frequency of people to engage with natural environments in cities, and how such interactions may play a role for the development of cognitive frames, affections and social memories about peoples relations to non-humans species, ecosystems and ultimately to the Biosphere.


We aim for a broad coverage of empirical cases and invite historians, architects, ecologists, geographers, anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists as well as other scholars to participate in the session and submit a paper proposal.

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