Sustainability Framework for Revealing and Analysing the Co-benefits of Nature-based Solutions to Urban Water Challenges
Keywords:Nature-based Solution, Climate Change, Urban Water Challenges, Flood Protection, Co-benefits, Sustainability Assessment Framework
The traditional approach towards urban water infrastructure elements is forced to change by the severe impacts of climate change. Nature-based solutions (NBS) addressing urban water challenges have recently prevailed for their potential to provide multiple co-benefits. However, the evaluation processes of NBS implementations usually lack the inclusion of co-benefits. This paper aims to assess the performance of flood-oriented NBS applications in delivering various co-benefits. To do this, we introduced a categorization of the identified challenges for the selected projects from NATURVATION Atlas. Eight challenges are associated with environmental, social and economic co-benefits. The governance features and costs were analysed as well as the expected co-benefits of the selected projects. The examined NBS projects indeed contributed to environmental sustainability. More than half of them achieve social benefits, and additional economic benefits can be found in less than a fifth of them. The participation of certain governmental bodies and civil society elements is more likely to bring co-benefits. The analysis implies that projects with multiple benefits require larger budgets. By raising the awareness of the importance of the inclusion of different societal challenges in the planning and implementation phase, the participating actors can promote the multiple benefits approach within the NBS projects.
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