Building urban resilience with nature-based solutions: How can urban planning contribute?

Bush, J. & Doyon, A. | Cities | 2019 | Peer Reviewed | Review |


Cities face increasing environmental, social and economic challenges that together threaten the resilience of urban areas and the residents who live and work there. These challenges include chronic stresses and acute shocks, amplified by climate change impacts. Nature-based solutions have emerged as a concept for integrating ecosystem-based approaches to address a range of societal challenges. Nature-based solutions directly address and contribute to increased urban resilience. However, implementing nature-based solutions is inherently complex, given the range of ecosystem services, their multi-functionality and the trade-offs between functions, and across temporal and spatial scales. Urban planning can play a substantial role to support the implementation of nature-based solutions and to manage trade-offs and conflicts, as well as how social equity dimensions are considered. This paper presents a framework that guides the application of urban planning to nature-based solutions’ implementation, by addressing key trade-offs across temporal, spatial, functional and social equity aspects. The framework highlights the key questions, and the supporting information required to address these questions, to underpin the inclusion of nature-based solutions for urban resilience. We find that while urban planning can contribute substantially, there are continuing gaps in how the inherently anthropocentric urban planning processes can give voice to non-human nature.