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Urban nature

Nature-based solutions for urban challenges

Forest. Photo.

Nature-based solutions (NBS) are defined to be inspired and supported by nature and have recently been proposed by practitioners and policy makers, as solutions to urban challenges such as urbanization and climate change. NBS can be parks with trees that reduce heat stress and provide recreation areas, green roofs, wetlands and ponds that hold storm water, permeable surfaces and rain gardens that infiltrate storm water. Traditionally, technical solutions, such as storm water management dominate the solutions for urban challenges, however while those solutions generally tackle single challenges, sometimes at the expense of the ability to handle other challenges, NBS have the potential to simultaneously deliver solutions for several urban challenges.

About the project

The overall aim of Urban Nature is to investigate the ability of NBS to simultaneously meet different urban challenges such as climate change and public well-being.

In the project we will:

  1. Map NBS and assess their potential provision of multiple ecosystem services in relation to the urban context. This includes the spatial distribution of NBS in Swedish cities and how this influences ecosystem services and their contribution to urban challenges and also how this distribution relates to biophysical and socio-economic factors. 
  2. Identify barriers and drivers for the implementation of NBS in the municipal administration to support a successful use of NBS in cities. This includes the study of the everyday practice in organisations involved with implementing NBS to assess barriers in different cultural and socio-economic contexts. 
  3. Synthesize the advanced knowledge base and develop future scenarios for how the spatial distribution of NBS can be optimized for efficient climate adaptations and simultaneously increase human well-being and social equality. The cities of Malmö, Helsingborg, Ystad and Gothenburg (Sweden) will be the core case-study cities used across the whole project.

The project will take a transdisciplinary approach, utilizing a broad expertise of various research disciplines and a reference group of stakeholders from Swedish municipalities, national and regional authorities and other organizations. Collaboration with the stakeholder group will ensure that the project get continuous feedback on research questions, scenarios, processes and models and that the results get a “real-world” testing.

Link to the project at Lund university research portal:

Nature based solutions for urban challenges — Lund University research portal


Urban Nature is a five-year project that started in December 2016, funded by the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Science and Spatial Planning (Formas).