Urban green infrastructure provides a number of cultural ecosystem services that are greatly appreciated by the public. In order to benefit from these services, actual contact with the respective ecosystem is often required. Furthermore, the type of services offered depend on the physical characteristics of the ecosystem. We conducted a review of publications dealing with demand or social factors such as user needs, preferences and values as well as spatially explicit supply or physical factors such as amount of green space, (bio)diversity, recreational infrastructure, etc. and linking demand and supply factors together. The aim was to provide an overview of this highly interdisciplinary research, to describe how these linkages are being made and to identify which factors significantly influence dependent variables such as levels of use, activities or health and well-being benefits. Commonly used methods were the combination of questionnaires with either on-site visual recording of elements or GIS data. Links between social and physical data were usually established either by using statistical tools or by overlaying different thematic maps. Compared to the large number of variables assessed in most studies, the significant effects in the end were relatively few, not consistent across the studies and largely dependent on the context they were seen in. Studies focused on aesthetic and recreational services, while spiritual, educational and inspirational services were not considered when creating links to spatially explicit ecological structures. We conclude that an improvement and harmonization of methodologies, cross-country studies and an expansion of this line of research to a wider range of services and more user groups could help clarify relationships and thereby increase applicability for urban management and planning.
Hegetschweiler, K. T., de Vries, S., Arnberger, A., Bell, S., Brennan, M., Siter, N., … Hunziker, M. (2017). Linking demand and supply factors in identifying cultural ecosystem services of urban green infrastructures: a review of European studies. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 21, 48–59. DOI: 10.1016/j.ufug.2016.11.002