Urban Nature: Connecting Cities, Nature and Innovation

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Overview

How can nature help us design and build our cities? Nature-based solutions have the potential to provide multiple benefits across a range of sustainability challenges facing cities. They can help to limit the impacts of climate change, enhance biodiversity and improve environmental quality while contributing to economic activities and social well-being.

But what are nature-based solutions? Examples include green roofs and city parks that reduce heat, city lagoons that can store water as well as vegetation and rain gardens to intercept storm water.

This course will explore nature-based solutions in cities in Europe and around the world. It will connect together the key themes of nature, cities and innovation. We will discuss how to assess what nature-based solutions can achieve in cities. We will examine how innovation is taking place in cities. And we will analyse the potential of nature-based solutions to help respond to climate change and sustainability challenges.

This course combines both technical knowledge and the social sciences to better understand nature-based solutions in a holistic perspective. New governance arrangements, business models and financing, forms of citizen engagement and innovation pathways will be needed to make the promise of nature-based solutions a reality.

In this course, we bring together a collection of diverse films and key short readings on nature-based solutions as well as interactive forums and practical assignments to create an online learning community for nature-based solution in an urban world.

Syllabus

International overview of nature-based solutions
-By studying this module you can gain an increased knowledge and a deeper understanding of nature-based solutions in an international and European context. The concept of nature-based solutions is presented and discussed with examples that explore the opportunities, benefits and challenges associated with mainstreaming nature-based solutions.


Assessment methods for nature-based solutions
-By studying this module you can gain an increased knowledge and a deeper understanding of possibilities and challenges for valuing and assessing the impacts of nature-based solutions. Assessment and valuation methods are presented and discussed in the context of different perspectives on cities, nature and innovation.

Governance strategies for nature-based solutions
-By studying this module you can gain an increased knowledge and a deeper understanding of governing the implementation of nature-based solutions. The concept of governance is presented through examples and the role of collaboration and engaging citizens and communities is highlighted.

Business models for nature-based solutions
-By studying this module you can gain an increased knowledge and a deeper understanding of enabling finance and developing business models for nature-based solutions. The importance of business models and role of financing is investigated and illustrated through examples and experiences with nature-based solutions.

Innovation pathways for nature-based solutions
-By studying this module you can gain an increased knowledge and a deeper understanding of innovation pathways for nature-based solutions. The role of visions and pathways is discussed with examples of nature-based solutions and different ways of working with nature, cities and innovation.