Beyond green: Broad support for biodiversity in multicultural European cities

Leonie K. Fischer*, Jasmin Honold, Rozalija Cvejić, Tim Delshammar, Sven Hilbert, Raffaele Lafortezza, Mojca Nastran, Anders Busse Nielsen, Marina Pintar, Alexander P. N. van der Jagt, Ingo Kowarik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


While urban growth contributes to the biodiversity crisis, biodiverse greenspaces within cities could support both human wellbeing and biodiversity conservation. Yet, urban greenspaces are under pressure due to the rapid densification of cities worldwide. Urban conservation policies thus need broad support, ideally from people with different sociocultural backgrounds. Whether urban residents prefer biodiverse over simply green spaces, however, largely remains an open question. We tested how diverse respondents (N = 3716) from five European cities valued three levels of biodiversity (plant species richness) in four ubiquitous greenspace types. Our field survey revealed that biodiversity matters: People largely prefer higher plant species richness in urban greenspaces (i.e., parks, wastelands, streetscapes) and agree that higher plant species richness allows for more liveable cities. Despite variation across European cities, positive valuations of high plant species richness prevailed among different sociocultural groups, including people of migrant background. The results of this study can thus support policies on a biodiversity-friendly development and management of urban greenspaces by highlighting social arguments for integrating biodiversity into urban development plans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal Environmental Change
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • Biocultural diversity
  • Environmental valuation
  • Green cities
  • Human wellbeing
  • Migration background
  • Urban nature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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