Social Aspects of Urban Nature

William G. Wilson

in Constructed Climates

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780226901459
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226901473 | DOI:
Social Aspects of Urban Nature

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  • Biodiversity and Conservation Biology


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This chapter first explores what it means to value something, then examines how people value vegetation, and finally investigates whether people gain social and psychological benefits from vegetation. The development of an agrarian lifestyle subjected various plants and animals to artificial selection through their value as food and resources. A recent effort finds environmentalists pushing the idea of valuing nature for the economic benefits it provides humans through “ecosystem services.” The pursuit of itemizing ecosystem services primarily involves the economics and values of marketable goods that can be bought and sold. This market valuation gained recent favor as a response to lawsuits involving environmental damage, but also as a result of several presidential “directives” that required the analysis of costs and benefits when instituting new environmental regulations. Urban nature also gets shaped by values of another sort, so-called nonmarket goods, things that can't be easily packaged and sold.

Keywords: urban nature; agrarian; environmentalists; ecosystem services; regulations

Chapter.  6659 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biodiversity and Conservation Biology

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