The influence of cultural and socio-economic factors on active citizenship for nature-based solutions
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This research assessed the influence of cultural and socio-economic factors on the level of active citizenship contributing to nature based solutions. Nature based solutions have several social and environmental benefits and can contribute to urban greening. An indication of the level of active citizenship regarding NbS was made through a dataset provided by the municipality and additional data provided by the neighborhood offices with the number of initiative fund applications regarding NbS. The initiative fund is a fund citizens can apply for when they want to develop or contribute to NbS. The neighborhood with lower cultural and socio-economic factors has a lower percentage of citizens applying for the initiative fund in comparison to the two neighborhoods with higher cultural and socio-economic dynamics. Therefore, a potential relationship could be indicated between cultural and socio-economic factors and the level of active citizenship regarding NbS. To find out how the factors and the level of active citizenship contributing to NbS could be related, in-depth interviews were conducted. This study indicated a direct and indirect influence. The direct influence includes the influence of the factors on active citizenship regarding NbS, as citizens who are in vulnerable situations are less likely to invest time and energy in NbS. Nevertheless, not all factors had an influence on the level of active citizenship regarding NbS as the immigration background was believed not to have an influence. The indirect influence was through the accessibility of resources, which influences the adaptive capacity of the citizens. The cultural and socio-economic factors social cohesion and type of education influence access to resources as higher levels of social cohesion and type of education increase the accessibility of resources. Local governments and middle ground platforms should take the cultural and socio-economic dynamics of a neighborhood in consideration, when stimulating and helping active citizenship regarding NbS. This may result in more NbS in urban areas.