Human-Nature for Climate Action: Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Sustainability
1. Introduction: A New Local Climate Action Rubric
2. The Role of Cities in Advancing Climate Action
3. Importance of Urban Ecosystem Services
Green Infrastructure for Climate Impact
4. Biophilia and Connectedness to Nature
The Cost Effectiveness of Nature and Economics of Biophilia
5. Behavioral Change towards Climate Action
Role of Technology in Shaping Sustainable Behavior
6. Climate Impact on Wellbeing and Quality of Life
7. Conclusion and Recommendations
8. Policy and Research Recommendations
- Strengthen national level policy engagement with sub-national and city governments, promoting vertical integration, on the climate change and sustainable development agendas.
- Allow access to sub-national governments and non-state actor partnerships to international financing and capacity building mechanisms.
- Support cross-sector and multi-disciplinary programming at the national levels that fund and facilitate implementation of integration of urban systems planning, infrastructure development and operations at the sub-national and city levels.
- Mandate environmental education curriculums at all academic levels, starting with primary school through university; incentivize learning institutions to become models of sustainability by optimizing structural space for renewable energy, storm water management, energy efficiency, urban agriculture, and local knowledge sharing
- Support cities in data collection, monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of socio-economic and ecological indicators
- Incorporate natural ecosystem valuations and impact assessments into development projects;
- Monetize the value of urban ecosystems services as part of a local awareness raising and call to action campaign
- Enforce sustainable land use planning and integrated systems design, adopting local ordinances to promote renewable energy, green infrastructure, inter-connected multi-modal transport infrastructure, net zero energy buildings
- Optimize the restoration, equitable distribution and governance of urban ecosystems and green spaces; support networks and encourage participation of non-traditional actors; support the creation of green jobs and small businesses for the maintenance of green spaces.
- Provide incentives for nature-based urban innovations and biomimicry research that meet the needs of local communities and sectors
- Understand the effects of different types of (public) green space on the individual and potential impact of cultural ecosystem services to foster behavior change in support of climate and sustainable actions.
- Explore the level of personal responsibility towards global sustainability and willingness to pay or compromise in support of ecological and socio-economic aims.
- Investigate the impact of biophilic design on building end-users with the aim to understand the degree of environmental awareness and sustainable behavior and its spillover, if any, to other aspects of an individual’s life.
- Record citizen understanding of urban ecosystems and their services in select cities to gage a willingness to pay for nature-based and low-carbon/impact solutions for addressing climate change and sustainability concerns.
- Better understand the degree of personal connectedness to nature and what that means for the individual in terms of their daily actions and lifestyle choices.
- Further investigate the climate–health relationship to understand the impacts of intersecting agendas on individual and societal behavior towards climate action.
Conflicts of Interest
|Sector||Strategies/Actions||Climate Action Outcomes and Benefits||City Resources|
|Urban Planning and Policy|
|Land use and spatial planning for compact development; mixed—uses; transit oriented development (TOD); urban systems integration; connectivity of services; higher densities; street design; zero waste; sustainable transport; renewable energy Prioritize brown field development Public lighting: change to LEDs/ CFLs, sensor lighting||Mitigation of energy demand and reduced GHGs; Adaptation and resiliency; Mitigation of energy use; reduced resource (land) consumption||http://www.sfclimateaction.org/ https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/dublin-ban-cars-city-center-city-council-vote http://baltimoredevelopment.com/for-business/assistance-programs-tax-credits/brownfield-tax-credit/ http://corporativo.codensa.com.co/EN/PRENSA/COMUNICADOS/Pages/CODENSAandUaespcompletedBogot%C3%A1'sFirstLEDPublicLightingSystem.aspx http://www.bogotahumana.gov.co/article/localidad-kennedy-recibe-nuevas-luminarias-p%C3%BAblicas-en-el-sector-plaza-am%C3%A9ricas|
|Use of green infrastructure; install green roofs (and facades), plant street trees, protect and maintain urban parks and forests; create pocket pockets and green corridors; Eco-systems based adaptation with green infrastructure and hybrid systems; Ecosystems conservation and management||Mitigation of energy demand and reduced GHGs; Adaptation: storm water management; Behavior Change; Sustainable Lifestyles Biodiversity conservation Food security Water and air purification||http://www.teebweb.org/publication/teeb-manual-for-cities-ecosystem-services-in-urban-management/ http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/gi_funding.cfm http://www.gicinc.org/|
|Transport||Low-carbon/hybrid multi-modal transportation: public transit (metro, light rail, BRT, bus circulators); bike share, car to go, technology apps (Uber, Lyft); pedestrian, biking infrastructure||Mitigation of GHGsPublic Health||https://www.itdp.org/our-cities-ourselves-principles-for-transport-in-urban-life/ http://www.godcgo.com/|
|Buildings||Retrofit public inventories for high energy efficiency of residential, commercial, industrial buildings; trade in out dated appliances; installation of green roofs and green alleys: green building codes Green municipal government operations and office spaces;||Mitigation of GHGs Adaptation and Resiliency Food security||http://www.chicagoclimateaction.org/ http://www.nyc.gov/html/gbee/html/plan/plan.shtml|
|Waste||5 Rs, re/up-cycling, http://thegreeningofwestford.com/2014/04/5-rs-refuse-reduce-reuse-repurpose-recycle.html Waste to energy models||Mitigation of GHGs, Green Economy, Behavior/Lifestyle Change||http://www.wienenergie.at/eportal2/ep/channelView.do/pageTypeId/72164/channelId/-51715|
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|Sector||Design Element||Human/Societal Benefit||Economic Benefits/Year|
|Business/Office||Views of Nature||Increased productivity; reduced stress||$3.6 million/employer|
|Medical–Hospitals–Health Care||Views of Nature||Reduced hospital stays after surgery; restoration of physiological/mental states||$93,324,031/year (industry savings)|
|Education||Daylighting||Heighten cognitive capacities||7%–26% improved test scores (The Alliance for Excellent Education (2007 ) estimates that if the students who had dropped out of the class of 2007 had graduated high school, the national economy would have benefited from an additional $329 billion in income over their lifetimes.)|
|Real Estate, residential||Access to park (500 m)||Restoration of physiological and mental states; leisure, recreation, relaxation||5% premium in residential prices; $2200/person saving to health care industry to address obesity|
|Retail||Daylighting||Positive environment||40% increased sales|
|Criminal Justice||Views/simulations to/of nature||Reduced aggression, stress and violence||52% fewer felonies (of public housing residents); approx. $162,200 savings/yr by State (Illinois)|
|City||City Rankings of Quality of Life by:|
-Mercer’s City Quality of Living 2015 (global)
-Economist Liveability Rankings 2014 (global)
-Siemens European Green City Index 2009
|Pop. (2015)||CO2 Tonnes per Capita||Green Space: % of Total Area||Sustainable Behaviors of Citizens: % of Walking, Cycling or Taking Public Transport to Work||Sustainable Behavior of City: % Recycled Municipal Waste||PM10/PM2.5 (EEA) **|
|Vienna||#1 Mercer (since 2011)|
|377 K||3.70 (estimated)||(24%)||62%||34%||20/14|
#2 Siemens (in North America)
|603 K||4.2||11.7%||24.5%||60% (est.)||4.9 PM2.5+|
|Melbourne||#1 Economist (since 2011)||4.4 m||17.7 *||22% (tree canopy)||22%||62%||14.8 PM2.5#|
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Santiago Fink, H. Human-Nature for Climate Action: Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Sustainability. Sustainability 2016, 8, 254. https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030254
Santiago Fink H. Human-Nature for Climate Action: Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Sustainability. Sustainability. 2016; 8(3):254. https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030254Chicago/Turabian Style
Santiago Fink, Helen. 2016. "Human-Nature for Climate Action: Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Sustainability" Sustainability 8, no. 3: 254. https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030254