Societal values and consequences of integrating geosystem services into subsurface planning


Guy Baeten , Lorena Melgaço Silva Marques , Olof Taromi Sandström (project leader), Maria de Lourdes Melo Zurita, Fredrik Mossmark, Jenny Norrman, Victoria Svahn, and Yevheniya Volchko

Important benefits for society are derived from the subsurface. It provides a range of geosystem services (GS): extraction of groundwater, energy and materials, space for underground constructions and storing (e.g. water, energy, CO2), and archive of cultural and geological heritage. GS are currently not systematically considered in planning processes: the first come, first served principle is applied. We aim to develop a framework, to be used by policy makers and planners, that provides a systematic approach to the understanding of, and the developments around GS identification and management. The concept of GS, we argue, will enable a greater consideration of subsurface societal values. It will help identify the planning levels where GS should be strategically considered; it will promote the development of methodologies for the integration of selected GS into planning; and it will help to identify opportunities within the planning process for stakeholder engagement and communication. To realise the above, we will run 3 workshops targeting key stakeholders in Sweden and Finland. The purpose of the workshops are to: 1) establish a network of stakeholders engaged in GS mapping, analysis and strategic planning, which can also last beyond the project; and 2) develop a more in-depth idea of GS and their diversity, in collaboration with key stakeholders, as a basis for a stage 2 proposal on a methodologically feasible way to move forward in the implementation of GS considerations.

Financing body: The Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (FORMAS)

This project is a collaboration between the University of New South Wales, the Geological Survey of Sweden (Sveriges Geologiska Undersökning), Chalmers University of Technology, the City of Gothenburg, and the Institute for Urban Research at Malmö University.