Publications

Incorporating soil ecosystem services into urban planning : status, challenges and opportunities

Teixeira da Silva, Ricardo; Fleskens, Luuk; Delden, Hedwig van; Ploeg, Martine van der

Summary

Context: Traditionally soils have not received much attention in urban planning. For this, tools are needed that can both be understood both by soil scientists and urban planners. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to enhance the role of soil knowledge in urban planning practice, through the following objectives: (1) identifying the role soil plays in recent urban plans; (2) analysing the ecosystem services and indicators used in soil science in an urban context; and (3) inferring the main challenges and opportunities to integrate soil into urban planning. Methods: Seven urban plans and reports of world cities that include sustainability goals were analysed using text-mining and qualitative analysis, with a critical view on the inclusion of soil-related concepts. Secondly, the contribution of soil science to urban planning was assessed with an overview of case studies in the past decade that focus on soil-related ecosystem services in urban context. Results: The results show an overall weak attention to soil and soil-related ecosystem services in the implementation and monitoring phases of urban plans. The majority of soil science case studies uses a haphazard approach to measure ecosystem service indicators which may not capture the ecosystem services appropriately and hence lack relevance for urban planning. Conclusions: Even though the most urban plans assessed recognize soil as a key resource, most of them fail to integrate indicators to measure or monitor soil-related functions. There is a need to develop soil-related ecosystem services that can be easily integrated and understood by other fields.