Special Issue "Nature-based Solutions for Urban Global Change Adaptation"

A special issue of Resources (ISSN 2079-9276).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Peter Cornelis Roebeling
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CESAM – Department of Environment and Planning, University of Aveiro
Interests: environmental-economics; ecological economics; natural resources management; complex system approaches; global change; adaptation and mitigation strategies
Dr. Laura Wendling
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd
Interests: multidisciplinary technologies for climate change-resilient resource management; urban circular economy; performance and impact assessment; science-based policy development
Prof. Dr. Teresa Fidélis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
GOVCOPP, Department of Environment and Planning, University of Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: water resources; environmental planning, spatial planning, nature-based solutions
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Anna Stahlbrost
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Luleå University of Technology
Interests: living lab; co-creation; user engagement; smart cities; digital transformation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Global change, including climate change, population growth and economic development, presents urgent challenges for cities in the 21st century. Cities must effectively manage urban and industrial expansion as well as challenges related to increased flood risk, water and air pollution, heat island effect, real estate devaluation and gentrification. These challenges significantly affect economic activities, human health and citizens' quality of life. Adapting to global change is therefore crucial for the cities of the future. There is emerging evidence and consensus that nature-based solutions (NBS), designed to bring more nature and natural features and processes to cities, can provide effective solutions to the multiple challenges facing cities. In this Special Issue, we invite papers that contribute to the creation of a solid evidence base on NBS for regional and municipal authorities, communities, businesses and other stakeholders. We look forward receiving papers that address one or more of the following issues:

i) multiple impacts, costs, benefits, co-benefits and economic viability of NBS across spatial, temporal and social scales;
ii) effective co-creation processes that enable the visioning, design and implementation of NBS through engagement and participation of stakeholders throughout the different stages of co-creation;
iii) particular spatial and water planning systems that enable the integration or fostering of NBS;
iv) legal frameworks and institutional settings that constrain or enable the institutionalization, establishment and management of NBS.

Such a comprehensive evidence base comprised of scientifically validated and locally-attuned information, will empower communities and facilitate informed decision-making by cities in the face of global change.

Dr. Peter Cornelis Roebeling
Dr. Laura Wendling
Dr. Teresa Fidélis
Dr. Anna Stahlbrost
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Resources is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • global change
  • adaptation
  • nature-based solutions
  • performance and impact indicators
  • impact assessment
  • economic viability
  • co-creation
  • legal framework
  • institutional setting

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Urban Vertical Farming as an Example of Nature-Based Solutions Supporting a Healthy Society Living in the Urban Environment
Resources 2021, 10(11), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10110109 - 25 Oct 2021
Viewed by 541
Abstract
The subject of the article concerns vertical urban farms that play an important role in nature-based solutions and ecosystem services for the city. In the face of a changing climate, progressive environmental degradation, and the related loss of agricultural land, vertical farms can [...] Read more.
The subject of the article concerns vertical urban farms that play an important role in nature-based solutions and ecosystem services for the city. In the face of a changing climate, progressive environmental degradation, and the related loss of agricultural land, vertical farms can be seen as an alternative to traditional agriculture. Woven into the blue-green infrastructure of cities, they may not only constitute a base for food production, but can also create a new valuable ecological, social, and economic hub in contemporary cities, changed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of this paper is to show whether it is possible to introduce various functions which support ecosystem and social services, and whether they affect measurable benefits for urban residents in a large-scale system of solutions in the field of vertical urban agriculture. This research shows that urban vertical farms can perform many functions and bring diverse benefits to the inhabitants of cities. In a multi-scale system, they allow for the creation of patchwork connections, which stabilise a specific city biome in the vertical space. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-based Solutions for Urban Global Change Adaptation)
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Article
Effectiveness of Nature-Based Solutions on Pluvial Flood Hazard Mitigation: The Case Study of the City of Eindhoven (The Netherlands)
Resources 2021, 10(3), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10030024 - 09 Mar 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1534
Abstract
Urbanization leads to changes in the surface cover that alter the hydrological cycle of cities, particularly by increasing the impervious area and, thereby, reducing the interception, storage and infiltration capacity of rainwater. Nature-based solutions (NBS) can contribute to flood risk mitigation in urbanized [...] Read more.
Urbanization leads to changes in the surface cover that alter the hydrological cycle of cities, particularly by increasing the impervious area and, thereby, reducing the interception, storage and infiltration capacity of rainwater. Nature-based solutions (NBS) can contribute to flood risk mitigation in urbanized areas by restoring hydrological functions. However, the effects of NBS on flood risk mitigation are complex and can differ substantially with the type of the NBS. Therefore, the effectiveness of NBS at the urban catchment scale is still subject to much debate, especially at the scale of urban catchments. In this study, the effects of different NBS on urban flood mitigation were evaluated for the city of Eindhoven in The Netherlands, as it has a history of urban flood events. To this end, various NBS scenarios were defined by municipal stakeholders and their impacts modelled with the numerical model Infoworks ICM. This was done for design storms with short, medium and long return periods (5, 10 and 100 years). Overall, the simulated NBS were effective in flood risk mitigation, reducing the flooded area as well as flood depth. The effectiveness of the individual NBS scenarios, however, depended strongly on the location and extension of the NBS, as well as on storm intensity. The effectiveness tended to increase with the increase in NBS surface area, while it tended to decrease with increasing storm intensity and, hence, return period. The NBS solution increasing street water storage was revealed to be more effective than those involving green car parks and green roofs. This study showed that numerical flooding models can be useful tools to assess the effects of NBS to reduce flood extent, water depth and/or velocity, providing insights that can support city planners to design and compare alternative strategies and plans for urban flood risk mitigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-based Solutions for Urban Global Change Adaptation)
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Article
Mapping the Life Cycle Co-Creation Process of Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Climate Change Adaptation
Resources 2020, 9(4), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9040039 - 12 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3688
Abstract
Developing urban and peri-urban ecosystem services with nature-based solutions (NBS) and participatory approaches can help achieve more resilient and sustainable environments for cities and urban areas in the face of climate change. The co-creation process is increasingly recognised as the way forward to [...] Read more.
Developing urban and peri-urban ecosystem services with nature-based solutions (NBS) and participatory approaches can help achieve more resilient and sustainable environments for cities and urban areas in the face of climate change. The co-creation process is increasingly recognised as the way forward to deal with environmental issues in cities, allowing the development of associated methods and tools that have been described and published for specific stages. It is argued that the co-creation process comprises various interlinked stages, corresponding stakeholders, and subsequent methods and tools that need to be mapped and integrated across all stages. In this study, a Life Cycle Co-Creation Process (LCCCP) for NBS is developed, building on continuous improvement cycles and Design Thinking methodologies, and for which the stages and substages, involved stakeholders and engagement methods and tools are mapped and defined. For stakeholders, the actors of an Urban Living Lab (ULL) are adapted to the LCCCP; for the engagement methods and tools, the goals of stakeholder engagement are used as a guide to select examples of co-creation methods and tools. The developed LCCCP comprises five stages, i.e., CoExplore, CoDesign, CoExperiment, CoImplement and CoManagement, creating a unique path that can be followed by practitioners for NBS co-creation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-based Solutions for Urban Global Change Adaptation)
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Article
Decision Criteria for the Development of Stormwater Management Systems in Poland
Resources 2020, 9(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9020020 - 21 Feb 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2687
Abstract
Progressing urbanisation is one of the key causes of environmental degradation. This problem also applies to stormwater management. For this reason, drainage infrastructures should be designed in harmony with nature and the decision for selecting a specific stormwater management system solution must not [...] Read more.
Progressing urbanisation is one of the key causes of environmental degradation. This problem also applies to stormwater management. For this reason, drainage infrastructures should be designed in harmony with nature and the decision for selecting a specific stormwater management system solution must not be taken on an ad-hoc or single-perspective basis. The purpose of this paper is to identify the criteria for selecting the best solution for a problem involving the selection of a stormwater management system, and to present a method that will enable all relevant criteria to be taken into account in the decision-making process. The developed decision problem structure takes into account all criteria related to the construction and operation of stormwater infrastructure, and its individual elements were identified based on the analysis and synthesis of information regarding the principles of stormwater management in Poland. The presented approach will allow for the taking into account of all, often mutually exclusive, criteria determining the choice of the stormwater management system option. This, in turn, will make it possible to significantly simplify the decision-making process. The indicated criteria can form the basis for choosing the most favorable stormwater management system for both large urban catchments and individual facilities. Thanks to the considerable flexibility of the developed decision problem structure, its widespread application can contribute to improving the efficiency of stormwater management systems. An example of the developed model’s application in a decision-making process is presented, concerning the selection of a design variant of a single-family residential building’s stormwater management system in Poland. Four design variants were included in the analysis, and the Analytic Hierarchy Process was used as the tool to select the most favorable option. This study shows that nature-based solutions are the most beneficial decision stormwater management options. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-based Solutions for Urban Global Change Adaptation)
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Article
The Institutionalization of Nature-Based Solutions—A Discourse Analysis of Emergent Literature
Resources 2020, 9(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9010006 - 12 Jan 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4069
Abstract
The European Union quickly incorporated the concept of nature based-solutions (NBS), becoming a key promotor. This was achieved through financial support for both academic research and city implementations. Still, the processes of institutionalization are yet to be fully explored. This study aims at [...] Read more.
The European Union quickly incorporated the concept of nature based-solutions (NBS), becoming a key promotor. This was achieved through financial support for both academic research and city implementations. Still, the processes of institutionalization are yet to be fully explored. This study aims at assessing how the scientific literature regarding NBS is addressing institutional aspects and how it is constructing the NBS narrative. This research is divided into two stages. First, it undertakes a quantitative analysis of the discourse, considering a set of preselected search terms organized into five categories: Actor, institutional, planning, policy, and regulation. Second, it adopts a qualitative analysis considering both a group of the most cited articles and of articles highlighted in the previous stage. The results indicate that the NBS concept is still shadowed by other environmental concepts such as ecosystem services. Despite being an issue promoted at the European level, the results of this exercise express the lack of concrete planning and policy recommendations, reflected by the absence of terms such as “planning objectives”. This pattern occurs in all other major categories, being the institutional category the least mentioned of all five categories. The results highlight the need to address both policies and planning recommendations more concretely, studying the institutional arrangements able to promote NBS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-based Solutions for Urban Global Change Adaptation)
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Review

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Review
Key Enablers of and Barriers to the Uptake and Implementation of Nature-Based Solutions in Urban Settings: A Review
Resources 2019, 8(3), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources8030121 - 30 Jun 2019
Cited by 49 | Viewed by 7703
Abstract
Climate change and urbanization have resulted in several societal challenges for urban areas. Nature-based solutions (NBS) have been positioned as solutions for enhancing urban resilience in the face of these challenges. However, the body of conceptual and practical knowledge regarding NBS remains fragmented. [...] Read more.
Climate change and urbanization have resulted in several societal challenges for urban areas. Nature-based solutions (NBS) have been positioned as solutions for enhancing urban resilience in the face of these challenges. However, the body of conceptual and practical knowledge regarding NBS remains fragmented. This study addresses this gap by means of a systematic review of the literature, to define NBS as a theoretical concept; its broader significance with respect to societal challenges; the key stakeholders in NBS planning, implementation and management; and major barriers to and enablers of NBS uptake. The results of this review reveal that, despite a lack of consensus about the definition of NBS, there is a shared understanding that the NBS concept encompasses human and ecological benefits beyond the core objective of ecosystem conservation, restoration or enhancement. Significant barriers to and enablers of NBS are discussed, along with a proposed strategic planning framework for successful uptake of NBS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-based Solutions for Urban Global Change Adaptation)
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Other

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Systematic Review
Policy Instruments to Encourage the Adoption of Nature-Based Solutions in Urban Landscapes
Resources 2021, 10(8), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources10080081 - 09 Aug 2021
Viewed by 1053
Abstract
Urban landscapes are under great pressure and particularly vulnerable, due to climate change, population growth and economic development. Despite the growing understanding that Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) represent efficient solutions to facilitate adaptation to climate change and increase cities’ resilience, their wide-scale adoption is [...] Read more.
Urban landscapes are under great pressure and particularly vulnerable, due to climate change, population growth and economic development. Despite the growing understanding that Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) represent efficient solutions to facilitate adaptation to climate change and increase cities’ resilience, their wide-scale adoption is still limited. There is a need to include NBS in urban governance and planning agendas through policy instruments, such as plan/legislative, economic and information instruments. However, there is a lack of studies that assess such policy instruments and, through the use of specific examples, how they can foster NBS adoption. The objective of this study is to address this gap by conducting a systematic literature review, using a bibliometric and a content analysis, collating and reviewing papers that consider policy instruments and NBS in order to: (i) assess the existence of policy instruments that influence the adoption of NBS; and (ii) evaluate the existence of specific examples of policy instruments. Results show that plan/legislative instruments are most mentioned, followed by economic and information instruments. However, examples of specific policy instruments being used in practice are still scarce in literature, as most studies remain theoretical. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-based Solutions for Urban Global Change Adaptation)
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