Nature-based solutions through collective actions for spatial justice in urban green commons

Mahir Yazar, Abigail York

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Urban climate adaptation through nature-based solutions (NBS) requires collective action that incorporates spatial justice considerations. Collective actions reveal new ways of thinking about urban green commons and spatial justice by reframing conventional understandings of NBS, space, and climate adaptation. Three urban green commons examined in Istanbul demonstrate how the grassroots-supported NBS must navigate complex land ownership arrangements, spatial justice, and opposing urban development priorities and socio-spatial reconfigurations spurred by local and national political elites. Using qualitative data collected from fieldwork carried out in 2019, we find critical relationships between activists, academics, professional organizations, and local residents collectively acting to promote urban green commons. NBS do not rely on the dominant techno-political processes that generate primarily infrastructure-based climate adaptation solutions in Istanbul. While spatial justice and collective action scholarship often pays attention to how disadvantaged communities gain recognition and involvement in decision making - such as establishing formal channels to access environmental goods and services - climate adaptation through NBS opens spaces of opportunity for these groups to promote justice and resist the dominant economic development paradigm. Further studies must pay attention to what extent collective actions create new socio-political identities that are harnessed to resist dominant techno-political processes, and when are these emergent identities co-opted by local and national governments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-237
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Climate adaptation
  • Collective action
  • Istanbul
  • Spatial justice
  • Turkey
  • Urban green commons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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