The European commission has granted the request for funding for a proposal co-developed by researchers of two departments of Utrecht University (Copernicus Institute and U.S.E./SFL) entitled “ NATURVATION: NATure-based Urban innovation”. U.S.E. Professor dr. Wouter Botzen and researcher dr. Friedemann Polzin are taking the lead in the U.S.E./SFL contribution to this project. The 4-year project, consisting of a consortium of 14 institutions in the fields of urban geography, innovation studies and economics will start in 2017 and will be funded by 7.8 million euros.
Besides Utrecht University and its two departments, the project team coordinated by Durham University consists of Central European University, Ecologic Institute gGmbH, ICLEI, Institut Fur Landeskunde, PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Lund University, ENT Environment and Management, The Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Malmo City, Newcastle City Council and the Gemeente Utrecht.
Summary of the project
Nature-Based Solutions have the potential to limit impacts of climate change, enhance biodiversity and improve environmental quality while contributing to economic activities and social well-being. Examples are green roofs and city parks that limit heat stress, city lagoons that store water and permeable surfaces, vegetation and rain gardens to intercept storm water. To unlock the potential of nature based solutions for sustainable urban development, NATURVATION takes a transdisciplinary, internationally comparative approach to capture the multiple impacts and values of these solutions. Based on a comparison of 1000 nature based solutions across 6 cities, it identifies the most promising governance, business, finance and participation models and how to overcome the systemic conditions that currently limit their use. The real-world impact of NATURVATION is realized through co-design, co-development and co-implementation of new partnerships, knowledge, processes and tools required to build capacity, enable replication and foster cultural change.
Contribution of SFL/U.S.E researchers
Based on theories of institutional and societal transformations, valuation methods from environmental economics and financing of sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship, the U.S.E. researchers identify economically efficient innovations and viable business and financing models for nature based solutions. Moreover, they contribute to improving the economic components of a framework that will be developed for assessing nature based solutions for strategic planning of cities. Best practice business and finance models will be analyzed to derive structural conditions for finance.
About Horizon 2020
Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. This approach makes sure new projects get off the ground quickly – and achieve results faster.