Skip main navigation

Diversity of nature based solutions

Explore how nature-based solutions help cities adapt to climate change and mitigate its impacts, enhance ecosystem services, and produce co-benefits.
Inside a dome a walkway winds around and up, taking people through a lush garden
© RMIT Europe and EIT Climate-KIC, EIT Food and EIT Urban Mobility

Nature-based solutions have been proposed as a family of approaches that can help society adapt to climate change and mitigate its impacts, enhance ecosystem services, and produce societal co-benefits.

Across the world, the momentum is growing for NbS as a vehicle for delivering green resilient and inclusive development, especially in the context of economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unsplash

The Urban Nature Atlas

The Urban Nature Atlas, developed as part of the EU-funded NATURVATION project, is the most comprehensive database of nature-based solutions for cities. It includes more than a 1000 nature-based solutions from across Europe and beyond.

The atlas was developed as the result of a systematic survey of nature-based solutions interventions in 100 European cities and provides the basis for the analysis of socio-economic and innovation patterns associated with urban nature-based solutions in Europe.

Ways to apply NbS

NbS use a set of structural and non-structural interventions that protect, manage, restore, or create natural or nature based features. Multiple approaches are needed across different contexts and these need to be diverse, multifaceted and inclusive.

Nature-based solutions can address a complex range of city challenges. Some examples include:

  • Forested catchments that provide clean water and store carbon.
  • Urban wetlands that increase water infiltration and reduce flood risks.
  • Urban and peri-urban farms that reduce food miles and connect people to the food they eat.
  • Parks, tree-lined streets, green roofs and building facades that mitigate the urban heat effect and accelerate water drainage while reducing noise pollution, air pollution, and energy demand for cooling.
  • City parks that connect people to nature, provide recreational space and islands of biodiversity.
  • Mangroves, dunes and healthy reef systems that protect coastal cities from storm surges.
  • Tree-shaded walking and cycling paths that provide combined ecosystem and mobility corridors, particularly when linked to city-wide public space networks.

New European Bauhaus award winning projects

A range of initiatives funded through a competitive process as part of the New European Bauhaus illustrate the diverse nature based solutions. Examples include:

The Xifré rooftop – Barcelona

The Xifré Rooftop is a dual purpose renovation project across an early 19th-century block of ten buildings. This roof garden creates a ‘floating’ wild space that enhances urban biodiversity as well as opportunities for social interaction between neighbours.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Gardens in the air – Sevilla

A circular initiative of urban renaturalisation involving artists, scientists, architects, designers and residents to imagine new relationships of sustainable prosperity through a vertical garden, a perfume that distils plants from the neighbourhood and a sound composition that celebrates new alliances.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Your Task

How diverse are the NbS in your city? Can you identify some dominant types?

Share your reflections in the comment section below.

© RMIT Europe and EIT Climate-KIC, EIT Food and EIT Urban Mobility
This article is from the free online

Bringing Urban Nature Into the Cities of Tomorrow

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education