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Climate Change Adaptation in London through Resilient Ecosystem Services Management

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

As urban populations continue to grow around the world, cities and their residents become increasingly vulnerable to climate change risks. Detrimental impacts on natural ecosystems have been observed in the built environment, as well as poorer quality of life. As urban areas are characterised by complex adaptive systems, the concept of ecosystem services represents an important tool for the management of urban socio-environmental quality and can be applied to climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.
This thesis investigates London’s potential resilience to climate changes through ecosystem services management. In particular, the socioecological capacity of the All London Green Grid for contributing to climate change resilience via patterns of green spaces, and carbon storage and sequestration through urban street trees, will be the central focus in the research. This capacity was assessed firstly by conducting an evaluation of the landscape metrics of Greater London’s green spaces to determine the extent and quality of green infrastructure, and how this varies according to relevant socioeconomic variables. This was achieved using GIS and the spatial analysis programme FRAGSTATS. This broad-scale evaluation was then supported by greater in-depth field measurements, focusing specifically on street trees, within selected eleven Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), which are an important vehicle for the local management of the ALGG and thereby climate resilience. This local-scale assessment also incorporated greater evaluation of ecosystem service provision by vegetation, and in particular street trees and their capacity for carbon storage and sequestration. Finally, governance of green spaces within BIDs and broader understanding of resilience and climate change was assessed with qualitative research methods, including semi-structured interviews of different agents and agencies involved in the ALGG network. This included investigation of decision-makers’ perspectives on vulnerabilities and the prospects for further developing London green spaces, to determine the feasibility of different management options.
Original languageEnglish
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Award date2018

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