Nature-based solutions in Europe: A frame analysis on urban policy strategies
MetadataShow full item record
Nature-based solutions (NbS) is a concept where ecosystem services are used to address societal challenges. It can replace the traditional, and often harmful, infrastructure measures while providing benefits for wellbeing and biodiversity. This concept has received a lot of attention in recent years, mainly from European countries. In Europe, most NbS policies and projects mainly focus on urban areas. However, NbS is considered a vague term by policymakers, as there are no clear guidelines of how NbS should be implemented. The IUCN tried to tackle this by developing criteria for NbS. One of these criteria is that NbS need to address societal challenges. To see how NbS and the relating societal challenges are addressed, this research carries out a frame analysis. By analysing the urban strategy policies of different European cities, it aims to make clear how NbS is framed in relation to societal challenges. From the European NbS database, eight policy strategy documents regarding NbS were selected and analysed. A mix of inductive and deductive coding was used for the frame analysis. The results show that policymakers mainly address climate change-related challenges. Also, the policy documents were not consistent in defining NbS, as they used different names and different definitions for NbS. Furthermore, as climate change was mostly the perceived challenge, the strategies often aimed to adapt to this challenge, rather than aiming to address other challenges. This research has limitations, however. Only eight policy documents were analysed, thus the results do not represent all NbS policy strategies in European cities. However, it does show policy implications. With additional benefits not clearly being distinguished, it fails to show the potential of what societal challenges can be addressed by NbS. To conclude, this research shows that NbS in urban policy is mainly focused on addressing climate change rather than other societal challenges. For NbS to be successful, non-environmental challenges also have to be addressed.