What does a just transition mean for urban biodiversity? Insights from three cities globally

Leslie Mabon, Antonia Layard, Laura De Vito, Roger Few, Sophia Hatzisavvidou, Odirilwe Selomane, Adam Marshall, Gilles Marciniak, Hannah Moersberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Just transitions – responses to environmental change that minimise negative impacts on the most affected people and places, while ensuring nobody is left behind – are gaining scholarly and policy significance in areas beyond their original focus on carbon-intensive jobs and sectors. Yet attention to what a just transition means for biodiversity, as another aspect of the global environmental crisis, remains limited. Given the critical role that biodiversity plays in supporting livelihoods and wellbeing, this is a notable gap. This paper assesses what a just transition means for biodiversity, focusing on urban environments as the spaces in which many people encounter biodiversity globally. We undertake interview research across three case study cities representing different geopolitical and environmental contexts: Bristol (UK); Yubari (Japan); and Cape Town (South Africa) and ask two questions: what does biodiversity tell us about the concept of just transitions in the lived environment; and what are the consequences of considering just transitions in the context of biodiversity in the lived urban environment? Based on our findings, we set out six principles for a just transition in relation to urban biodiversity, as areas for further empirical enquiry: a shared sense of what a just transition and biodiversity mean in the local context; diverse social and ecological knowledge systems informing decision-making; integration and cohesion across policies; inclusive, meaningful and early engagement; supporting communities during and after implementation; and measures for assessing the effectiveness of outcomes from an ecological and a social perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104069
Early online date22 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jun 2024

Cite this