Re-orienting nature-based solutions with more-than-human thinking

Maller, C. | Cities | 2021 | Peer Reviewed | Perspective |


Different ways of thinking and understanding urban problems and imagining solutions are needed to redress the suite of serious challenges facing cities. Focusing on urban nature, this conceptual paper begins from the standpoint that nature-based solutions (NBS) could help remake cities as places for more than just people; in other words, cities could encourage the flourishing of multiple species and ecosystems, including but not limited to, humans. Although cities were once considered ‘biodiversity wastelands’, they are now recognised as providing important habitat. However, NBS have been plagued by criticisms of anthropocentrism whereby human needs are prioritised over those of other species and ecosystems. To overcome this problem, the paper provides an outline of more-than-human thinking and suggests how relational concepts can help NBS move beyond an inherent anthropocentrism, and also begins to work through some of the complexities of making this shift. More-than-human thinking and theories have arisen in several disciplines, but despite a considerable presence in the literature, they have not yet been brought into conversation with NBS. The paper concludes that more-than-human thinking can generate deeper understanding of the interdependencies between all the entities that comprise cities, such that more inclusive NBS could be implemented.

Nature based approach

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