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New article: Towards operational understanding of implementing nature-based solutions

Bumble bee in purple flowers on a roof park in Malmö. Photo.
Bumble bee on roof park in Malmö. Photo: Björn Wickenberg

Nature-based solutions (NBS) can help tackle climate change and advance urban sustainability by using nature to deliver social, ecological and economic benefits. However, their success largely depend on implementation for which several barriers exist. For NBS to be meaningful in terms of delivering positive impacts in cities, we need better understanding of how implementation is addressed and embedded in NBS frameworks.

Against this background Björn Wickenberg (IIIEE), Kes McCormick (IIIEE) and Johanna Alkan Olsson (CEC) set out to review research frameworks explicitly focusing on implementation of NBS. The paper identifies key elements and conditions required for enabling the implementation process and discusses how the discourse on NBS implementation could move beyond conceptual propositions and advance towards more operational understanding. This is relevant for capacity building and governance of NBS at the local level, especially when considering the call for transdisciplinary efforts in this direction. Additionally, the paper raises concerns about the one-sided focus on experimentation in NBS-related research and argues that frameworks also need to address how formal planning can contribute to the integration and implementation of NBS in urban contexts.


• Few frameworks for NBS address implementation

• Collaboration and co-development of knowledge are key elements in the NBS implementation process

• The NBS concept must be integrated at different scales of urban planning

• Future frameworks for NBS should address both experimentation and formal planning processes


Read the article (open access) in the Environmental Science and Policy journal