The European commission has recently granted funding for the Horizon2020 project “NATURVATION: NATure-based URban innoVATION”. Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme.
The 4-year project, consisting of a consortium of 14 institutions in the fields of urban development, geography, innovation studies and economics will start in December 2016 and will be funded by 7.8 million Euros. Besides Lund University, the project team coordinated by Durham University (Professor Harriet Bulkeley, UK) consists of the Central European University (Hungary), the Ecologic Institute gGmbH (Germany), ICLEI (Germany), the Institut für Landeskunde (Germany), the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (The Netherlands), Utrecht University (The Netherlands), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), ENT Environment and Management (Spain), the Centre for Economic and Regional Studies (Hungary), and the cities of Malmö (Sweden), Newcastle (UK) and Utrecht (The Netherlands).
Nature-based solutions have the potential to limit impacts of climate change, enhance biodiversity and improve environmental quality while contributing to economic activities and social well-being. Examples are green roofs and city parks that limit heat stress, city lagoons that store water and permeable surfaces, vegetation and rain gardens to intercept storm water. To unlock the potential of nature-based solutions for sustainable urban development, NATURVATION takes a transdisciplinary, internationally comparative approach to capture the multiple impacts and values of these solutions. Based on a comparison of 1000 nature-based solutions across 6 cities (Malmö, Newcastle, Utrecht, Leipzig, Barcelona, Györ), it identifies the most promising governance, business, finance and participation models and how to overcome the systemic conditions that currently limit their use. The real-world impact of NATURVATION is realized through co-design, co-development and co-implementation of new partnerships, knowledge, processes and tools required to build capacity, enable replication and foster cultural change. 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.