Exploring the engagement of citizens in resilience building through nature-based solutions

19:00 Tuesday 28 May




Fabiola Espinoza (Peru) 1; Bernadett Kiss (Sweden) 1; Fabiola Espinoza Cordova (Peru) 1

1 - Lund University-International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

Currently, cities are facing various sustainability challenges in a magnitude they have not faced before. Intense urbanization has led to increasing use of grey infrastructure, paired with resource scarcity, environmental degradation and social segregation. In addition, the increasing frequency of climate extremes, such as floods, droughts, and heat waves, leave citizens very vulnerable. In this context, Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) has emerged as a response to urbanisation and climate-related challenges in the process of resilience building. NBS are deliberate interventions using nature and ecosystem services it provides to address urban and sustainability challenges while offering societal, economic and environmental benefits, therefore often characterized as multifunctional. Rooftop gardens, city parks, open storm water systems, and community gardens can all be good examples for NBS.

While the benefits of NBS and its multifunctionality is increasingly recognised, there are still numerous question marks around what ‘successful’ NBS governance structures entail. How NBS are governed? What institutional arrangements, top-down or bottom-up approaches support its emergence and mainstreaming? In the context of resilience building in cities, the engagement of citizens – as climate-vulnerable stakeholders – is gaining increasing attention. Do those who are the most affected have influence on their level of vulnerability? The literature review reveals different forms of public participation varying from multi-stakeholder dialogues, education, co-planning, join implementation to grass-root organizations initiating and managing NBS interventions, such as community gardens. Nevertheless, at what stages of the NBS citizens are involved (e.g. visioning, planning, designing, implementing or evaluating), how participatory methods have been enabled, what combination of them are used, and how they influence the ‘success’ of NBS still need to be studied.

This research, as part of the EU funded Naturvation project, aims to address this knowledge gap by identifying and analysing ‘successful’ schemes of citizens engagement in NBS interventions. This will be achieved through analysing data sources from 54 NBS in 18 cities worldwide. Preliminary results suggest that multi-stakeholder partnerships and the engagement of local governments promoting citizen participation are main drivers for adopting NBS. This research will contribute to better understand the role of different schemes of public participation fostering more inclusive and long-lasting nature-based solutions approaches in the future.