Encouraging ecological landscape designs on underutilized urban lands: Homeowner preferences for verge conversion programs

Claire Doll, Curtis Rollins, Michael Burton, David Pannell, Katrin Rehdanz, Jürgen Meyerhoff

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Increasing native vegetation cover on verges, which are underutilized urban lands, can help build resilient cities under urban densification and climate change. As these areas are sizeable, many cities have programs aimed at encouraging ecologically beneficial landscape designs on verges, which are publicly owned but privately managed lands located on the edge of private properties. However, adoption rates of these programs remain low. Using choice experiments, we assess preferences for a range of financial, labour, and technical attributes of verge conversion programs. Overall, we find that offering financial assistance and free or discounted native plant seedlings are likely to be the most effective means of encouraging native garden adoption on verges. We also show that homeowners are influenced by their neighbours’ decisions to adopt ecological landscape designs. Through latent class analysis, we find that different program components have different impacts on adoption rates for different segments of the population. Together, our results suggest governments can increase adoption of native gardens in urban areas through a variety of processes, including financial and non-financial supports, as well as efforts focused on enhancing early adoption to harness effects of social norms. Using a variety of programs or strategies is likely to be most effective, since different segments of the population will respond to different programs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128049
Number of pages12
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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