Problem Addressed

This solution was sourced in response to UKGBC’s Innovation Challenge: “How can communities and local authorities implement, maintain, and assess the impact of nature-based solutions to enhance climate resilience?”

Nature4Cities seeks to tackle a range of urban challenges by bringing nature back into innovation, planning and implementation driven thinking. The platform was created for knowledge diffusion and assessment for re-naturing cities. The project seeks improve interactions between civil society, economic activities, public governance and the natural environment, which can currently be at odds with each other.

Solution Overview

Learn about Nature4Cities in less than 2 mins by watching this video!

Nature4Cities is a Horizon 2020 EU-funded Research & Innovation project, that has created a comprehensive reference Platform for Nature-Based Solutions (NBS), offering technical solutions, methods and tools to empower urban planning decision making. This will help address the contemporary environmental, social and economic challenges faced by European Cities.

The objectives of the project were to:

  • Improve the integration of NBS in urban and spatial planning;
  • Build a new and active community network around NBS;
  • Offer high quality decision-support tools for re-naturing cities;
  • Build a holistic assessment framework for NBS;
  • Develop a reference knowledge base on NBS and best practice sharing;
  • Propose new governance, business and financial models for NBS implementation

The different modules available to use are:

  • A database of generic NBS and associated environmental economic and social performances
  • An observatory of NBS best practice projects
  • A set of innovative business, financial and governance models for the deployment of NBS in a range of different contexts
  • A NBS project impact assessment toolbox

Verification & Case Study

The solution can be measured in the module called “NBS project assessment”. In this module it is possible to evaluate an NBS in several ways:

  1. It is possible to evaluate the urban performance of an NBS by measuring its surroundings in situ, for instance the Annual Carbon Sequestration, a Biotope Area Factor,  a thermal comfort score, a thermal load score, etc.
  2. It is also possible to do a socio-economic assessment by estimating the socio-economic benefits, co-benefits and costs of a NBS project.
  3. An environmental assessment can be done to assess the impact of the NBS during its entire lifecycle ex situ.

Case Study: The functionality of the solution has been tested on several case studies. However Nature4Cities did not use it in real conditions to make decisions – the main objective was to test the tool itself. For instance in Alcalá de Henares with the Edible Forest:

  • This project aimed to increase the biodiversity of peri-urban spaces by re-naturalising through the creation of an edible forest
  • Nature4Cities has considered the baseline, the current state of the edible forest (2020) and 2 future scenarios for 2025 and measured several indicators for each scenario to compare them and measure the benefit of the NBS improvement.

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