Co-production of knowledge on urban gardens to aid urban planning and encourage citizens to implement local scale adaptation solutions

09:00 Thursday 30 May


Room S11


Gina Cavan (United Kingdom) 1; Konstantinos Tzoulas (United Kingdom) 1; Fraser Baker (United Kingdom) 1; Claire Smith (United Kingdom) 2

1 - Manchester Metropolitan University; 2 - University of Leicester

Urban green infrastructure (GI) is a well-known solution to enhance resilience to climate hazards and extreme events such as urban flooding and heat waves.Whilst comprehensive geospatial datasets for GI in public spaces often exist to aid GI planning (such as tree inventories), there is less information about domestic gardens. Since domestic gardens comprise around 1/5 of the land area in cities, and provide a valuable contribution to the larger GI network, this represents a large gap in knowledge. Furthermore, policymakers and practitioners often perceive it to be too challenging to influence the land management of private urban spaces. In addition, urban citizens are often unaware of the importance of their garden and how their activities can influence the resilience of the urban matrix to climate hazards.

This paper presents the outcomes of a co-produced project at the science-policy-practice interface that aimed to generate new knowledge on domestic gardens to inform GI planning,with a particular focus upon the benefits that enhance climate resilience. Additionally, there was a clear need to involve citizens in the project to encourage implementation of adaptation solutions on privately owned urban spaces, and therefore, the methodology incorporated a citizen science element to both gather data and apply as an educational tool.

Through the co-development and deployment of the ‘My Back Yard’ citizen science online survey tool, we captured quantitative data from >1000 citizens about garden land surface cover types and proportions in Manchester, UK. This citizen science database was verified and extended through the application of high-resolution imagery, then applied to quantify and map climate regulation services including cooling potential and runoff attenuation.On completion of the survey, respondents received feedback on their results and neighbourhood. Specific guidance on ways to improve their garden to aid climate resilience was provided and respondents could then pledge their support for implementing adaptation solutions. A follow-up survey was undertaken with the initial respondents one year later to understand which adaptation solutions had been implemented and barriers to achieving these.

The innovative approach and final co-developed action plan created with policymakers and practitioners to enhance green space and wildlife in gardens are presented. Discussion focuses upon the uptake of adaptation solutions by citizens and the knowledge-to-action gap in implementation. The online survey tool and results are transferable to other cities and demonstrates how citizen science can provide the basis for shared learning to enhance urban climate resilience.