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Targeted strategies for overcoming barriers to nature-based solutions and climate action

New study explores the integration of nature-based approaches for climate change adaptation into municipalities’ daily planning practices and associated governance in Sweden.
green city

In a new article in the Cleaner Production Journal, LUCSUS researcher professor Christine Wamsler (et al) explores the integration of nature-based approaches for climate change adaptation into municipalities’ daily planning practices and associated governance in five Swedish Municipalities. 

Nature-based adaptation planning is a challenging endeavor, not least because it requires transdisciplinary approaches to unite different actors' efforts and capacities. However, empirical knowledge on associated governance processes is scarce and fragmented. Against this background, a city-to-city learning lab was established with 5 Swedish Municipalities to systematically analyze selected urban development projects step-by-step, from the initial idea, to comprehensive and detailed planning, procurement, implementation, maintenance and follow-up. 

The results show the numerous constraints municipal staff face and how they use targeted strategies to overcome them and tap into existing drivers. The study identify five, complementary strategies: i) targeted stakeholder collaboration; ii) strategic citizen involvement; iii) outsourcing; iv) the alteration of internal working structures; and v) concealed science–policy integration. Importantly, these strategies reveal an increasing need for relational approaches that, in turn, require individuals to develop the cognitive/emotional capacity to establish trust, communicate inclusively and promote social learning, while at the same time dealing with an increasingly complex and uncertain working environment. The study conclude that tapping into the potential of nature-based solutions for climate adaptation governance requires more financial and human resources, and capacity development to support personal development, systematic mainstreaming and, ultimately, more sustainable development.

- “There is a wealth of different strategies municipal staff in Sweden use to overcome current constraints, but we need to become better in linking related capacities and approaches to support sustainable change, says Professor Wamsler from Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS)"

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on nature-based solutions in an urban world

To improve current systems and mainstreaming, Professor Wamsler and other researchers within the NATURVATION project have recently created a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on nature-based solutions in an urban world. The MOOC contains a collection of inspiring and educational films about the opportunities, challenges and future of nature-based solutions.  It is a 5 weeks course that runs 7 times a year. It is free to take the course for everyone, everywhere and at anytime. It is also possible for everyone to download the related Urban Nature Compendium for free.

Related links:

Article: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652619340247

NATURVATION project website: https://www.naturvation.eu/

Related MISTRA project and videos showing municipalities’ experiences: https://www.lucsus.lu.se/research/urban-governance-transformation/city-to-city-learning-lab

MOOC: https://www.naturvation.eu/news/20191220/join-online-course-and-community-cities-nature-and-innovation

Urban Nature Compendium: https://portal.research.lu.se/portal/files/73338082/Urban_Nature_Compendium.pdf

About the Researcher

Photograph of Christine Wamsler.

Christine Wamsler has more than 20 years of experience working in risk reduction and climate adaptation, both in theory and practice. She has led many international and national projects and has published more than 150 academic articles, book chapters and books on this issue.

Christine Wamsler is Professor at Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), Research Fellow at the Centre of Natural Disaster Science (CNDS), Associate of Lund University Centre for Risk Assessment and Management (LUCRAM), and Honorary Fellow of the Global Urbanism Research Group, Global Development Institute (GDI) of the University of Manchester, UK.

Read more about Christine's research and work.

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