Sustainable urban and metropolitan planning is increasingly benefiting from differentiated assessments of ecosystem services. Cultural ecosystem services (CES) are particularly relevant for urban residents’ mental and physical health, yet, quantification and mapping of CES are often challenging, especially so in the Global South. The use of social media data (SMD), which has recently gained importance for assessing CES at larger spatial and temporal scales, provides a promising entry point for mitigating this informational gap in land-use planning. However, its application is mainly limited to European and North American cases and rarely applied to data-scarce urban regions in the Global South, with South America as no exception. Addressing this geographical gap, this study assesses CES of urban green spaces in the city of Cali, Colombia, based on 1,686 crowdsourced and geolocated photographs, and compares those results with a metropolitan scale CES potential assessment based on expert opinions performed in a previous study. Despite some important limitations primarily related to Flickr as a data source, we demonstrate the utility of this approach, especially for understanding the fine-scale generation of CES by small green spaces located within the urban fabric that are overlooked in the metropolitan scale expert-based assessment. These green spaces are highly relevant as inner-city pockets for CES production, especially in the form of “existence value” and “aesthetic experiences”, in contrast to green areas highlighted by experts at the metropolitan scale that serve primarily recreational purposes. Our results indicate the large potential of SMD-based CES assessment approaches for informing urban planning processes in the Global South.
- Cultural ecosystem services
- Social media data
- Ecosystem Service potential and realisation
- Metropolitan area of Cali (Colombia)