On June 5 2018, the Bocconi’s Centre for Research on Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy (UB-IEFE) organised an international workshop in Milan (Italy) on the different planning, evaluation and management approaches when implementing nature-based solutions at an urban scale. In particular, the event focused on key aspects such as the sociocultural, economic and environmental impacts these solutions have on cities. The workshop was organised in collaboration with the Urban Europe Research Alliance (UERA) and was supported by the European Commission.
Nature-based solutions (NBSs) may have the chance to make our heavily urbanised cities more liveable and resilient to climate change. They are urban interventions offering green solutions in critical fields such as water management, air quality, noise pollution, high temperatures and environmental-friendly mobility.
The workshop in the University of Bocconi provided an opportunity for experts from different fields and countries to sit down and share their research and experiences on dealing with NBSs. Several cities presented their case studies on the impacts of selected NBSs like green infrastructures and roofs and vegetation. These provided a rich evidence as to how re-naturing highly urbanised landscapes can ultimately improve the cities’ overall living conditions.
Moreover, they discussed the solutions’ different aspects by covering the sociocultural, economic and environmental impacts have on cities. Examples of key factors for a successful implementation of NBS which were considered are: (1) evaluation methodologies and indicators, (2) policy approaches and business models tailored specifically for NBSs, and (3) their impacts.
“NBSs provide several ecosystem services also at the urban scale and is important to define a set of KPIs and a methodology assessment to recognise their value,” says Edoardo Croci from UB-IEFE. “These topics have been discussed during the workshop - NBSs for urban resilience - organised by Bocconi University.”
Highlights from the event included talks on ecosystem services - a collection of resources and processes supplied by natural ecosystems - and unconventional cost-benefit analysis when assessing NBSs in cities. Regarding policies and financial models, selected speakers stressed the priority of seeking long-term sustainability goals rather than short-term economic interests if cities truly want to support the green initiative.
The substantial role of citizens in their cities was also discussed. An example of contemporary action aiming to involve the population which was presented at the event is storytelling, which may come in handy in letting them re-imagine their lives together with nature.
The workshop touch based on topics that are critical to local stakeholders when implementing any form of NBS.