New governance, business, financing models and economic impact assessment tools for sustainable cities with nature-based solutions (urban re-naturing)

Specific Challenge

Re-naturing cities can provide solutions to the multitude of challenges that cities are facing because nature-based solutions have proven to be multi-purpose and multi-beneficial. To enable the systemic integration of these solutions into a sustainable urban planning, new governance, business, financing models and partnerships are needed allowing for their co-designing, co-development and co-implementation by all stakeholders and societal actors, and leveraging of investments and synergies between private and public action.


Actions should:

  • map and analyse existing experiences and practices and recommend innovative business models, financing mechanisms (e.g. crowd funding) and governance arrangements to develop socially acceptable urban 're-naturing' planning through participatory, multi-stakeholder and trans-disciplinary way, involving also local communities, empowering citizens and allowing for an equitable distribution of costs and benefits (including co-benefits) at different scales and trade-offs resolution models, new forms of partnerships (e.g. public-private) and strategies for mobilising new investments and creating new business opportunities;
  • develop and validate analytical frameworks and methodologies, tools, protocols, standards, indicators and matrixes to: characterize nature-based solutions; assess their cost-effectiveness (accounting for both benefits, co-benefits and possible negative impacts) as compared to alternative combinations of green/grey/hybrid solutions; identify their limits under different conditions and assess confidence intervals, performance thresholds and corresponding uncertainties;
  • develop and validate decision-support tools, models, management strategies, guidelines and recommendations to assist the urban re-naturing design process and enable the systemic integration of these solutions into a sustainable urban planning, replicability and scalability;
  • identify cultural, social, economic, institutional, legal, regulatory and administrative barriers, incentives/disincentives fostering/discouraging the implementation of nature-based solutions and bottlenecks at city, regional, national and EU level, including aspects such as citizens' perceptions, consumer behaviour and willingness to pay to conserve/enhance urban green space, for re-naturing cities to enhance their economic, social, cultural and environmental resilience, and recommend ways to overcome them.

Proposals shall address all of the above points.

The role of social innovation, and the participation of social sciences and humanities, is particularly important to properly address the complex challenges of this topic. Resources should be envisaged for clustering the projects financed under the Nature-based solutions for territorial resilience” part of the call for Societal Challenge 5 ' Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials', namely topics SC5-08-2016-2017, SC5-09-2016, and SC5-10-2016, to optimise collaboration, synergies, interactions and mutual support to the achievement of their corresponding objectives and – if possible – under other parts of Horizon 2020.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of around EUR 7.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

Projects are expected to contribute to:

  • develop enhanced strategies, new institutional and governance arrangements and new finance and business models, fostering multi-stakeholder involvement, citizens' engagement and empowerment, leveraging both public and private funding of nature-based solutions in cities;
  • kick-start of a collective learning process to foster creative and visionary urban design in re-naturing cities, securing an equitable distribution of the multiple benefits that city re-naturing entails to various stakeholders and citizens at different scales;
  • develop an integrated evidence base and a European reference framework on nature-based solutions, in order to create a global market; new business opportunities, growth and jobs, and a green economy;
  • optimise the policy and regulatory and administrative frameworks;
  • shift in public and private investments from conventional to nature-based or effective combinations of nature/grey/hybrid solutions to urban challenges.
Date de candidature
Sciences sociales
Humanités : Anthropologie & Ethnologie