What are nature-based solutions?

Nature-based solutions use the natural properties of ecosystems. They have the potential to limit impacts of climate change, enhance biodiversity and improve environmental quality while contributing to economic activities and social well-being.

Examples are green roofs and city parks that limit heat stress, city lagoons that store water and permeable surfaces, vegetation and rain gardens to intercept storm water. Yet despite their significant potential, the use of nature-based solutions remains marginal, fragmented, and highly uneven within and between cities.

The use of grey infrastructure and technology-driven solutions continues to dominate urban development, from the design of wastewater systems to efforts to improve energy efficiency in the built environment.

Climate action for adaptation, resilience and mitigation
Coastal resilience and marine protection
Cultural heritage and cultural diversity
Economic development and decent employment
Environmental quality, including air quality and waste management
Green space, habitats and biodiversity
Health and well-being
Inclusive and effective governance
Regeneration, land-use and urban development
Social justice, equity and social cohesion
Sustainable production and consumption
Water management


NATure-based URban innoVATION is a 4-year project, funded by the European Commission and involving 14 institutions across Europe in the fields of urban development, geography, innovation studies and economics. We will seek to develop our understanding of what nature-based solutions can achieve in cities, examine how innovation can be fostered in this domain, and contribute to realising the potential of nature-based solutions for responding to urban sustainability challenges by working with communities and stakeholders.

Advancing assessmentBuilding evidenceRealising potential

Project team

The NATURVATION project brings together a collection of researchers and organisations with extensive practical experience and policy expertise.

Dora Almassy
Isabelle Anguelovski
Francesc Baro
Claudia Basta
Marija Bockarjova
Wouter Botzen
Louise Bracken
Harriet Bulkeley
Niall Cunningham
Ed Dammers
Ton Dassen
McKenna Davis
Hade Dorst
Cristina Garzillo
Christiane Gerstetter
Helena Hanson
Katarina Hedlund
Ake Hesslekrans
Helen Hinds
Kathrin Hoerschelmann
Attila Katona
Berni Kiss
Panagiota Kotsila
Eva Kunseler
Mihaly Lados
Tanya Lazarova
Yuliana Lazova
Jochen Lischke
Andres Luque-Ayala
Sara Maia Rocha
Chris Martin
Kes McCormick
Keighley McFarland
Sandra Naumann
Peter Olsson
Laszlo Pinter
Friedemann Polzin
Ignasi Puig Ventosa
Rob Raven
Veronica Rebollo
Alice Reil
Arjan Ruijs
Hens Runhaar
Jeroen Schenkels
Aafke Schipper
Filka Sekulova
Helen Toxopeus
Sander van der Jagt
Anton van Hoorn
Maarten van Schie
Clara Veerkamp
Yuliya Voytenko
Christine Wamsler
Lorna Winship
Christos Zografos

Task Force

Our project Task Force consists of Associate Partners with extensive European and international experience of developing and implementing nature-based solutions. The Task Force operates as a ‘critical friend’ and ´real world´ testing ground for the knowledge, recommendations, processes and tools we create to disseminate, replicate and embed our work across European and international contexts.

Bettina Wanschura
Stephan Pauleit
Technical University Munich
Marcus Mayr & Raf Tuts
UN Habitat
Zsolt Molnar
MTA Hungary
Carl Bäckstrand
Carina Borgström-Hansson
WWF Sweden
Malcolm Smith
Pippin Anderson
University of Cape Town
George Gerring
Environment Agency UK
Peter Normann Vangsbo