Understanding the value of urban riparian corridors: Considerations in planning for cultural services along an Indonesian river

Derek Vollmer, Michaela F. Prescott, Rita Padawangi, Christophe Girot, Adrienne Grêt-Regamey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Cultural ecosystem services are not easily integrated into planning decisions when rehabilitating urban rivers. Methods exist to characterize the value of these cultural services, but there are methodological challenges to obtaining this information and fitting it to a decision context, particularly when weighed against monetary costs and benefits. In a developing country, these challenges can be magnified and thus the value of cultural services is seldom considered. We illustrate this through a case study of a river in Jakarta, Indonesia, where plans call for widening the river channel, stabilizing the banks with concrete, and restricting access to the river. We employ a mixed-method approach of household surveys, a discrete choice experiment and ethnographic interviews, to ascertain historical and present uses of the river, and residents' preferences for future change to the river. We demonstrate that low-income residents value non- or indirect-use cultural services that the river corridor provides-services that would be lost under the current rehabilitation plan. By assessing residents' willingness to pay for cultural services, we can more easily compare these scenarios to the current plan. We also show how our mixed-methods approach to valuation can help frame and interpret quantitative results, so that decision makers have additional contextual information. We demonstrate that such approaches are feasible and sometimes necessary in complex, data-poor urban environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages11
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cultural services
  • Green infrastructure
  • Mixed methods
  • River rehabilitation
  • Urban ecosystem services
  • Valuation

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