Innovative urban forestry governance in Melbourne?: Investigating “green placemaking” as a nature-based solution

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Abstract

A nature-based approach to climate resilience aims to challenge and re-frame conventional environmental management methods by refocusing solutions from technological strategies to socio-ecological principles such as human well-being and community-based governance models, thereby improving and legitimizing the delivery of ecosystem services (ES). There are, however, many challenges to applying a socio-ecological agenda to urban climate resilience and thereby re-framing ES delivery as community and people focused, a knowledge gap extensively outlined in the environmental governance literature. In this paper, we aim to contribute to this re-assesment of urban environmental governance by examining the City of Melbourne's approach to urban re-naturing governance from a place-based perspective. Here we focus on the city's internationally-acclaimed urban forest strategy (UFS), investigating how and to which extent the governance arrangements embedded within the UFS draw strength from diverse perspectives and allow for institutional arrangements that support “situated” reflexive decision making and co-creation. We find that Melbourne's UFS governance process fosters green placemaking by re-focusing climate adaptation solutions from technological strategies to situated socio-ecological principles such as human well-being and community-based decision making. In this sense, this case provides valuable insight for the broader UGI governance field regarding the opportunities and challenges associated with a socio-cultural approach to urban re-naturing and ES delivery.

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