Ecosystem services and urban water
: an assessment of the goods and benefits accruing from sustainable approaches to urban water management

  • Roshni Jose

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This research creates a linkage between Ecosystem Services (ES) and Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) in urban residential areas. The findings suggest that optimisation of ecosystem service goods and benefits, particularly cultural service and regulating service benefits, can be delivered through SUDS within urban greenspace settings. Previous studies have indicated that SUDS can help to manage water quality, water quantity and provide amenity. Additionally, the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2011) has concluded that nature provides many ES benefits. Within this context, SUDS in urban greenspace areas have a high potential to provide opportunities to enhance urban ES provision beyond ‘simply’ water management. Within this thesis, an integrated methodology (consisting of physical and social science methods) is used to assess cultural and regulating services provided by SUDS. The results are collated to consolidate the data on different SUDS types and to develop and test a communication tool, to confirm the multiple benefits provided by SUDS. The work contributes to existing knowledge in this field of study, particularly as there is a very limited information available on delivery of cultural ecosystem services from SUDS.
    Two case study sites, in Dundee and Dunfermline (both in Scotland, UK), with well-established SUDS features, were selected for the field assessment of ES and SUDS linkages. A third case study location, at Waterlooville (England, UK) was used to test the communication tool. The methodologies used in this research include visual inspection, public perception survey, Public Participatory Geographical Information Systems (PPGIS) and a pond and wetland survey. The results confirm that SUDS provide multiple ES benefits, particularly cultural and regulating services. Public perception results showed a statistical link between SUDS and ES provision in terms of biodiversity, aesthetics and educational benefits. The PPGIS results show the most favoured and least favoured places, based on participants opinion. Additionally, a willingness to pay assessment was conducted; this indicates that respondents value greenspace and SUDS near their homes.
    The thesis concludes with the presentation of a communication tool which has been developed to assist in the identification of ES associated with SUDS. The three stages of the tool include preliminary stage, decision stage and final stage. The tool allows the communication of results based on physical science and social science and testing of the tool provided feedback on the reliability and usefulness of the tool. The outcome of this research will be of use to stakeholders such as landscape architects, engineers, planners, policy makers etc. An evidence base is created to assess the cultural and regulating services in the context of urban environments. The links between SUDS and ES are established, acknowledging the importance of non-monetary valuation of ES with respect to cultural services.
    Date of Award4 Jul 2017
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Abertay University
    SponsorsScottish Overseas Research Students Awards Scheme (SORAS) & The Leche Trust
    SupervisorRebecca Wade (Supervisor) & Joseph Akunna (Supervisor)

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