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
Green space, habitats and biodiversity
Health and well-being
Regeneration, land-use and urban development
Social justice, equity and social cohesion
Sustainable production and consumption
Environmental quality, including air quality and waste management
Inclusive and effective governance
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.

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 Dreiseitl-Wanschura
Stephan Pauleit
Marcus Mayr & Raf Tuts
Zsolt Molnar
Carl Bäckstrand
Carina Borgström-Hansson
Malcolm Smith
Pippin Anderson
George Gerring
Peter Normann Vangsbo
Christopher Raymond