Nature-based solutions are helping to address urban challenges

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Did you know that currently over 70% of Europe's population live in cities, and this is expected to increase to over 80% by the middle of the century? This translates to 36 million new urban citizens, who will need cities that are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Those EU-funded projects demonstrate how nature-based solution (NBS) can contribute to address urban challenges such as climate change and water management. They provide multiple benefits to citizens by promoting the sustainable use of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, ensuring healthy lives, increasing social cohesion and creating new business and economic opportunities:  


This project's objective is to position Europe as a global leader in the innovation and implementation of nature-based solutions. The idea is to form a community of cities fostering peer-to-peer learning and capacity building among front runner cities that are experienced in delivering large scale nature-based solutions and fast follower cities that have the desire to implement large scale nature-based solutions but lack the expertise. At the same time, project partners will develop policy and practices necessary to scale up urban resilience, innovation and governance using nature-based solutions.

Eleven cities participating in this project are: Glasgow, Genk, Poznan, La Coruna, Bologna, Burgas city, Ioannina, Malaga, Nicosia, Sarajevo and Pavlos Melas.

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Grow Green

GrowGreen aims to create climate and water resilient, healthy and liveable cities by investing in nature-based solutions. Making nature part of the urban living environment improves quality of life for all citizens and will help business to prosper. High quality green spaces and waterways provide innovative and inspiring solutions to major urban challenges, such as flooding, heat stress, drought, poor air quality and unemployment and will help biodiversity to flourish.

Seven cities - facing complex challenges associated with climate resilience, as well as a range of social, economic and environmental problems – are partners of Grow Green. Demonstration projects are designed and implemented in four Frontrunner Cities – Manchester, Valencia, Wroclaw and Wuhan. These cities are paired with Follower Cities: Brest, Zadar and Modena.

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The UNaLab aims at addressing the challenges that cities around the world are facing today, by focusing on climate and water related issues. With three demonstration cities (Tampere, Eindhoven and Genova), seven replication cities(Cannes, Prague, Başakşehir, Castellón, Stavanger, as well as  Buenos Aires and Hong Kong) and several observers, the objective is to develop smarter, more inclusive, more resilient and increasingly sustainable societies through innovative nature-based solutions.

UNaLab Explained in Under 2 Minutes from ERRIN on Vimeo.

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This projects aims at developing, applying and validating a methodology for Renaturing Urban Plans to mitigate the effects of climate change, improve air quality and water management and increase the sustainability of our cities through innovative nature-based solutions. The URBAN GreenUP consortium is comprised of eight partner cities - the front-runners (Izmir, Liverpool, Valladolid) and the followers (Chengdu, Ludwigsburg, Mantova, Medellin, QuyNhon)

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NAIAD is a project aiming to develop concrete nature-based solutions' approaches in response to flood and drought risks at nine (Copenhagen, Karts, Rotterdam, Łódź, Lower Danube, Glinščica, Medina del Campo, Thames basin, La Brague) demo sites across EU. At the core of the project is the physical and socio-economic analysis of demos sites, supported with complex modelling and forecast activities, which will, in cooperation with the insurance sector, strive to propose NBS as technically sound and financially viable option for investors at local level and higher and especially for the insurance sector.

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Nature-based solutions have the potential to limit impacts of climate change, enhance biodiversity and improve environmental quality while contributing to economic activities and social well-being. Yet despite their significant potential, the use of nature-based solutions remains marginal, fragmented, and highly uneven within and between cities.

NATURVATION aims at developing the understanding of what NBS can achieve in cities, examine how innovation can be fostered in this domain, and contribute to realising the potential of NBS for responding to urban sustainability challenges by working with communities and stakeholders. Six cities are partners in NATURVATION – Barcelona, Győr, Leipzig, Malmö, Newcastle and Utrecht.

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The N4C project aims to develop a scientific and technical database and operational tool for the effectiveness of Nature Based Solutions applied in a framework which considers a holistic approach and, which integrates multiple stakeholders.

All along the 4-years project, researchers, policy makers, planners, professionals from the public and private sector and citizens will work together to develop knowledge, new collaborative models and tools in order to enhance the Re-naturing Cities transition. The links with and between these stakeholders will contribute to upscale results, share Best-Practices generated by the project and widespread their expertise all over Europe. The knowledge built will remain and be spread through the decision supporting web platform. The project will thus sustain with its full services and operative capacity after the project lifetime.

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Background information

  • Green cities do better - European Commissioner's Vella conclusions from the EU Green Week 2018
  • Data hub - Horizon 2020 projects dealing with nature-based solutions


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