Nature-based

Solutions

Global warming and urbanisation are closely interconnected. Cities are both drivers of global warming and especially affected by its impacts. The need for climate mitigation and adaptation as well as building resilience is therefore becoming essential for urban policy. In this context, nature-based solutions (NBS) in urban and regional planning are gaining increasing importance. NBS refer to the sustainable management and use of nature for tackling environmental and societal challenges such as climate change and the urban heat island effect, water supply security, water and air pollution, food security, human health, and disaster risk management.

The concept of NBS aims at the enhancement and expansion of green-blue infrastructure (GBI), a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas, designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services, including green spaces (green) and waters (blue).

Nature-based solutions are designed interventions that are inspired by nature. The properties of plants, soils and other natural elements are used to increase the sustainability and resilience of cities. Thus, bringing more, and more diverse, nature and natural features and processes into cities, through locally adapted, resource-efficient and systemic interventions. Therefore, these solutions span a variety of actions depending on the environmental and societal challenge, the level of intervention and the spatial scale. GBI planning also helps to reduce dependence on ‘grey’ (built) infrastructure that is often more expensive to build and maintain. It is therefore a smart investment for cities, especially in developing countries.

Examples

The restoring of wetlands and mangroves for the purpose of climate and coastal protection.

The de-sealing of soils as well the reduction of the degree of soil sealing help to reduce surface run off following heavy precipitation events due to an increase in on-site infiltration while also increasing the evapotranspiration on site. Solutions like these restore the sustainability of the area and its multifunctionality.

New designed and managed artificial ecosystems such as green roofs and vertical green can cool buildings in the summer and prevent heat loss in winter.

Infiltration ditches and constructed wetlands which are designed for on-site water infiltration and treatment. Thereby, cooling the surrounding area.

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