Climate change and urbanization have resulted in several societal challenges for urban areas. Nature-based solutions (NBS) have been positioned as solutions for enhancing urban resilience in the face of these challenges. However, the body of conceptual and practical knowledge regarding NBS remains fragmented. This study addresses this gap by means of a systematic review of the literature, to define NBS as a theoretical concept; its broader significance with respect to societal challenges; the key stakeholders in NBS planning, implementation and management; and major barriers to and enablers of NBS uptake. The results of this review reveal that, despite a lack of consensus about the definition of NBS, there is a shared understanding that the NBS concept encompasses human and ecological benefits beyond the core objective of ecosystem conservation, restoration or enhancement. Significant barriers to and enablers of NBS are discussed, along with a proposed strategic planning framework for successful uptake of NBS.