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NATure-based URban innovation

NATURVATION (NATure-based URban innovation) is a Horizon 2020 project, funded by 7.8 million Euros by the European commission, that started in November 2016.

City rooftop garden. Photo.
Photo: Pixabay

Nature-based solutions

Nature-based solutions (NBS) are actions which are inspired and supported by nature. They have the potential to address urban challenges, as climate change, in a sustainable way while contributing to economic activities and social well-being. Examples are parks that reduce heat stress and provide recreation areas, green roofs, wetlands and ponds that holds storm water and permeable surfaces, vegetation and rain gardens that infiltrate storm water.

To unlock the potential of NBS for sustainable urban development, NATURVATION takes a transdisciplinary, internationally comparative approach to capture the multiple impacts and values of these solutions. The project has three main objectives: advance assessment approaches, enable innovations and realise the potential of NBS.


Researchers from CEC will work with advancing assessment approaches for mapping and evaluating the multi-functional and systemic impacts of NBS to create a robust evidence base and tools for decision-making. This will be done together with researchers from PBL, Utrecht University, Central European University and IFL in close collaboration with the urban-regional innovation partnerships (URIPs) led by the partner cities. Lund University will work especially close to Malmö city and the associated URIP.

NATURVATION will overcome implementation gaps by building momentum of NBS through creation of new partnerships, knowledge platforms, processes and tools required to support policy, business and civil society organisations in cities across European.

The NATURVATION Task Force (including UN-HABITAT, Arup, White Architects, Ramboll Living City Laboratory, Climate-KIC, the African Centre for Cities, the Environment Agency UK, The IPBES Indigenous and Local Knowledge Task Force and the University of Munich) will operate as a critical friend and ‘real world’ testing ground for the developed knowledge, recommendations, processes and tools to enable us to disseminate, replicate and embed this work internationally.

How to use the tools


NATURVATION involves researchers from CEC, IIIEE and LUCSUS at Lund University. At CEC, Professor Katarina Hedlund, PhD Helena Hanson and PhD Peter Olsson will work in the project.

The consortium of the 4-year project is led by Durham University (Professor Harriet Bulkeley, UK) and consists of research organizations (Central European University, Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (IFL), Lund University, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Utrecht University) with expertise in the fields of urban development, ecology, geography, innovation studies and economics.

About Harriet Bulkeley at

It also includes organisations with extensive practical and policy expertise of developing, supporting and implementing sustainable development (Ecologic Institute, PBL the Netherlands Environment Agency, ICLEI Cities for Sustainability) as well as six partner cities of Barcelona (Spain), Györ (Hungary), Leipzig (Germany), Malmö (Sweden), Newcastle (UK) and Utrecht (The Netherlands).



Dandelions growing in a street. Photo.

Contact Helena Hanson to find out more about NATURVATION. 

Helena Hanson