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Residents' perceptions of the role and management of green spaces to provide cultural ecosystem services in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Rumana Sultana, Center for Sustainable Development, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh
Samiya Ahmed Selim, Center for Sustainable Development, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-12656-260405

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Abstract

Ongoing rapid urbanization and socio-environmental changes are posing challenges to proper urban management. Cultural ecosystem services (CES) offered by urban green spaces play a crucial role in the well-being of urban residents through ecosystems’ non-material benefits. However, these services, especially from the residents’ perspective, are often neglected in urban management strategies because of their intangible nature, particularly in the Global South. In this study, conducted in Dhaka, Bangladesh, we investigated residents’ perceptions of the importance of CES offered by green spaces and how green space should be managed. As a methodological tool, we used a questionnaire-based stated preference method where non-monetary statements were the basis. Questions in the survey included respondents’ social background and visiting frequency to green space, perceived importance of CES and green space, and perceptions about the management of green space. We analyzed 405 questionnaires using descriptive and inferential statistics. Our results indicate that rooftop gardens and green parks are considered the most important areas that provide CES, and among different types of CES (i.e., recreation, aesthetic, mental satisfaction, social relations), recreation is considered the most important. The high importance respondents place on the CES categories of aesthetics, sense of place, and social cohesion was also revealed. CES categories tended to be positively linked with each other. The valuation of CES was diverse depending on gender, income, educational background, and visiting frequency. Respondents prioritized government and community roles over the role of individuals and international and national non-government organizations in managing CES. Collaboration between individual and organizations was deemed a high priority. Our results highlight that a better understanding of CES and how different people perceive their benefits can be used to foster public participation and increase support for green space management initiatives.

Key words

cultural ecosystem services; Dhaka city; green space management; sustainability; urban green space;

Copyright © 2021 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087