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City-to-city learning lab

City-to-city learning lab on nature/ecosystem-based planning and adaptation

Project aims and approach
This project supports systematic city-to-city learning to foster so-called nature- or ecosystem-based planning, climate adaptation and associated governance. The aim is to create a city-to-city learning lab that allows the participating municipalities to work in close cooperation with researchers from Lund University to: 1) systematically analyze, compare and learn from the integration of nature- or ecosystem-based approaches in their daily planning practice, and 2) assess associated stakeholder involvement and governance mechanisms.

In each municipality, one development project relevant for climate adaptation will be step-by-step analyzed – from the beginning (project idea) throughout detailed planning, procurement, implementation, maintenance and follow-up (monitoring and evaluation). Questions to be asked include: What are the principle planning steps during the process? When, how and why are ecosystem services considered? What are the associated planning structures, mechanism and tools that support ecosystem services integration? Who is involved, when and why? What are the structures, mechanism and tools that support internal and external cooperation and participation? What are the differences between the involved municipalities? What can we learn from them to advance ecosystem-based planning and adaptation?

The project was the outcome of a joint workshop organised by Mistra Urban Futures Skåne and the Skåne Association of Local Authorities in April 2017. It is based on the municipalities' joint identification of local needs and the desire for increased knowledge exchange in cooperation with academia.

Urban areas are human-environment systems that depend fundamentally on ecosystems. The ecosystem services and nature-based solutions concepts have been proposed as new approaches for recognizing the dependence of human societies and their development on natural systems. Hopes for these concepts extend to a broadening of the focus upon the fundamental human relationship with nature and creating multiple benefits, such as human well-being, biodiversity and climate adaptation.

Consequently, sustainable urban development requires an understanding of the management of urban ecosystem services and its integration (or mainstreaming) in urban planning and governance. Ecosystem services implementation and mainstreaming has to take place at municipal level where international and national legislation and policies have to be translated into practice. However, nature/ecosystem-based planning and associated governance is a challenging endeavor. Reasons include the fact that the ecosystem services and nature-based solution concepts were developed on an academic and theoretical level, and have (at least the former) a focus on the human-environment system and not upon existing administrative and political structures or societal institutions and processes. Accordingly, knowledge on associated governance processes that have the potential to support nature/ecosystem-based planning and adaptation through (increased) involvement of internal and external stakeholders is scarce and fragmented.

Project period and funding agency
2 years (2018-2019), financed by Mistra Urban Futures

Key words
Nature-based solutions, ecosystem services, ecosystem-based planning, ecosystem-based adaptation, stakeholder involvement, participation, urban governance, collaborative governance, city-citizen cooperation, knowledge co-production.


Upcoming project workshop: October 4th 2019.

A total of six workshops and five field visits have been successfully implemented, and a range of video clips have been developed to summarise some of the outcomes so far (see right hand side).

As part of this project, on October 10, 2018 a Horizon Scanning Workshop For Future Urban Forests will be conducted. Location: IIIEE. Time: 9-15.

Greening Laneways Project

Project leader: Christine Wamsler

Project Participants
The project includes five municipalities in Skåne, Sweden (Malmö, Lomma, Kristianstad, Eslöv, Höganås) and researchers from three research centres at Lund University (LUCSUS, IIIEE and CEC).

Key words

Nature-based solutions, ecosystem services, ecosystem-based planning, stakeholder involvement, participation, urban governance


Project video: Overview


Case Study: Lomma Municipality


Case Study: Malmö City


Case Study: Kristianstad Municipality


Case Study: Eslöv Municipality


Case Study: Höganäs Municipality