Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Landscape Ecology

Connecting Nature: Bringing Cities to Life, Bringing Life into Cities

Project information

Connecting Nature is a five-year€12 million project funded by European the Commission’s Horizon 2020 Innovation Action Programme (grant agreement No 730222). The aim by project end is to position Europe as a global leader in the innovation and implementation of nature-based solutions. The main idea is „to innovate with nature to build climate resilience in cities“.
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Key Challenges

The most major and urgent challenges occur today in cities. Among them are challenges such as rapid climate and environmental change, complex water and waste management, adverse health and well-being, changes in social cohesion and migration patterns. Nature-based solutions can provide an entry point to addressing these challenges.
While the benefits of nature-based solutions are clear and can directly address the challenges outlined, the development and implementation of nature-based solutions has been slow, uneven and, in many cases complex; requiring efforts across many disciplines. Issues like “silo thinking”, managing social cohesion and tackling the deficit of knowledge that exists around nature-based solutions need to be confronted when developing plans to introduce nature-based solutions in cities.
CONNECTING Nature has taken these challenges on board and will devise and test approaches using multi-disciplinary methods where solutions are designed and created collaboratively that will lead towards the creation of resilient, greener, healthier cities, leading to a more sustainable living for their citizens.

Geography of the project

The project is a partnership of 31 organisations co-working with local authorities, communities, industry partners, NGOs and academics. This partnership will work with 16 European countries, Brazil, China, Korea & The Caucasus (Georgia and Armenia) who are investing in a multi–million-euro large scale implementation of nature-based projects in urban settings. The project is coordinated by Trinity College Dublin.


Project goals

CONENCTING Nature will form a community of cities that fosters peer to peer learning and capacity building among our front runner cities who are experienced in delivering large scale nature-based solutions, and our fast follower cities who have the desire to implement large scale nature-based solutions but lack the expertise. As knowledge and expertise increases, so too will our community to include new members (multiplier cities).
At the same time, project partners will develop policy and practices necessary to scale up urban resilience, innovation and governance using nature-based solutions. Our approach will be open and innovative, fostering the development of co-operation between local governments, SME’s, academic research and community partners to produce a tool kit and guidebook for cities seeking to deliver nature-based solutions in their locales.
We are measuring the impact of these initiatives on climate change adaptation, health and well-being, social cohesion and sustainable economic development in these cities. Innovative actions to foster the start-up and growth of commercial and social enterprises active in producing nature-based solutions and products is an integral part of our work.

Structure of the project

The work within the project is divided into six work packages presented below. The research and activities within these work packages include:
  • Literature review of scientific and practical approaches for development and implementation of nature-based solutions as well analysis of cities's strategies (governance and financing models)
  • Development of database where hundreds of nature-based solutions and interventions from European cities will be presented in order to enable the statistical analysis of different aspects which characterise the NBS from different points (at the end of the project this database will be part of the OPPLA platform)
  • Interviews with experts experienced with the development and implementation of NBS;
  • Workshops with local experts, stakeholders, members of City Counsils, SME, NGOs etc.
  • Organisation of conferences;
  • Implementation of NBS developed within the project in Front-runner und Fast-follower cities;
  • Impact-analysis and framework development for impact assessment and monitoring of implemented NBS; publication of guidebooks, development of models and scenarios.


Work packages

Project related publication (selected)

  • Haase D, Dushkova D (2019) Nature-based solutions for urban climate change adaptation: evidence from the Europe-wide nature-based solutions database. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening (in prep)
  • Haase D, Haase A, Dushkova D, Wolff M (2019) Nature-based solutions (NBS) in cities and their interaction with urban land, ecosystems, built environment and people: Debating societal implications. Land. Special issue. Editorial. (in prep)
  • Haase D, Dushkova D, Connor S, Nash C, Dumitru A, Improta R L et al. (2019) A new framework to support evaluation of nature-based solutions projects in cities considering success and failure. Land (in prep)
  • Haase D (2019) Ecosystem Services provided by Blue Infrastructure in Cities - Concepts and Evidence from Europe and the US. Sustainability (in press)
  • Dushkova D, Haase D (2019) Nicht nur einfach grün: Naturbasierte Lösungen als Konzept und praktischer Ansatz für eine gesellschaftsbezogene Nachhaltigkeitsforschung in urbanen Räumen. Ecosystem Services Partnership Deutschland (ESP-DE) Blog „Innovationsnetzwerk Ökosystemleistungen Deutschland“ (in prep)
  • Albert C, Schröter B, Haase D et al. (2019) Addressing societal challenges through nature-based solutions: How can landscape planning and governance research contribute? Landscape and Urban Planning 182. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2018.10.003
  • Haase D, Dushkova D (2018) Learning from existing nature-based solutions experiences in Europe. In: Dumitru A. et al. (eds.) Connecting Nature: bringing cities to life, bringing life into cities. Deliverable 1.1.2018.
  • Guerrero P, Haase D, Albert C (2018) Locating Spatial Opportunities for Nature-Based Solutions: A River Landscape Application. Water 10(12):1869. DOI: 10.3390/w10121869
  • Haase D, Dushkova D (2018) Nature-based solutions for urban challenges: An Analysis of Local and Regional Projects from the Europe-wide database. In: Lupa P, Stepniewska M, Grams P (eds.) Ecosystem services in transdisciplinary approach. Book of Abstracts of the 5th Scientific Symposium Ecoserv, 17-19 September 2019, Poznan. Department of Integrated Geography, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan.
  • Haase D, Dushkova D (2018) Assessing the Nature-Based Solutions in European cities: Framework for Development of Database. In: Transitions to sustainability, lifestyles changes and human wellbeing: cultural, environmental and political challenges. Book of abstracts of IAPS Symposium 2018, Rome, July 8-13 2018.

Project work at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

HU Berlin is one of the project partners. The research within the project will be conducted at Geography Department by Prof. Dr. Dagmar Haase und Dr. Diana Dushkova. It includes the research activities within the work packages 1, 2, 3, conserning the assessment and further development of scientific approaches for creation and implementation of nature-based solutions as well as development of database where NBS from different European cities will be presented. Other tasks include conducting of interviews with experts and stakeholders, co-development and co-creation of indicators for impact assessment of NBS and their monitoring.


Humboldt University Berlin, Department of Geography, Landscape Ecology Lab, 10099 Berlin, Unter den Linden 6
Prof. Dr. Dagmar Haase
Tel. +49 30 2093 6831, fax: +49 30 2093 6833
email: dagmar.haase@geo.hu-berlin.de
Dr. Diana Dushkova
email: diana.dushkova@geo.hu-berlin.de

Projekt-Website https://connectingnature.eu/