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Nature-based solutions to climate change mitigation and adaptation in urban areas: perspectives on indicators, knowledge gaps, barriers, and opportunities for action

Nadja Kabisch, Department Ecosystem Services, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ; German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig; Department of Geography, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Niki Frantzeskaki, DRIFT - Dutch Research Institute For Transitions, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Stephan Pauleit, Strategic Landscape Planning and Management, Technical University of Munich
Sandra Naumann, Ecologic Institute, Berlin
McKenna Davis, Ecologic Institute, Berlin
Martina Artmann, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER), Dresden; Research Group Urban and Landscape Ecology, University of Salzburg
Dagmar Haase, Department of Geography, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Department Computational Landscape Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ
Sonja Knapp, Department Community Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ
Horst Korn, German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation
Jutta Stadler, German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation
Karin Zaunberger, European Commission, Environment Directorate General, Brussels
Aletta Bonn, Department Ecosystem Services, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ; German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig; Friedrich Schiller University Jena

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08373-210239

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Abstract

Nature-based solutions promoting green and blue urban areas have significant potential to decrease the vulnerability and enhance the resilience of cities in light of climatic change. They can thereby help to mitigate climate change-induced impacts and serve as proactive adaptation options for municipalities. We explore the various contexts in which nature-based solutions are relevant for climate mitigation and adaptation in urban areas, identify indicators for assessing the effectiveness of nature-based solutions and related knowledge gaps. In addition, we explore existing barriers and potential opportunities for increasing the scale and effectiveness of nature-based solution implementation. The results were derived from an inter- and transdisciplinary workshop with experts from research, municipalities, policy, and society. As an outcome of the workshop discussions and building on existing evidence, we highlight three main needs for future science and policy agendas when dealing with nature-based solutions: (i) produce stronger evidence on nature-based solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation and raise awareness by increasing implementation; (ii) adapt for governance challenges in implementing nature-based solutions by using reflexive approaches, which implies bringing together new networks of society, nature-based solution ambassadors, and practitioners; (iii) consider socio-environmental justice and social cohesion when implementing nature-based solutions by using integrated governance approaches that take into account an integrative and transdisciplinary participation of diverse actors. Taking these needs into account, nature-based solutions can serve as climate mitigation and adaptation tools that produce additional cobenefits for societal well-being, thereby serving as strong investment options for sustainable urban planning.

Key words

climate change; cobenefits; governance; nature-based solutions; urban areas

Copyright © 2016 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087