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Cities, nature, innovation: the European NATURVATION project

What can nature-based solutions offer cities? Can nature-based innovation respond to sustainability challenges, also involving communities and all stakeholders? NATURVATION, which stands for NATure-based URban innoVATION, is one of the currently active European projects focused on NBS.  The project is funded by the European Commission as part of Horizon 2020, the EU Research and Innovation programme, it has a duration of 4 years and it involves 14 institutions across Europe, in the areas of urban development, geography, innovation research and economics.

NATURVATION brings together a project task force that researchers and organizations, with a wide experience and political competence, are part of. In addition, there are other partners with a wide European and international experience in developing and implementing nature-based solutions.  The task force tests knowledge, recommendations, processes and tools of the project in the real world, in order to disseminate, replicate and integrate them in European and international contexts. NATURVATION will therefore develop an evaluation framework that brings together different kinds of knowledge, integrates contributions from multiple initiatives and assesses the value of nature-based solutions in relation to the objectives of urban sustainability.

Six partner-cities and research in other 12 cities.

Six cities (Barcelona, Utrecht, Leipzig, Malmö, Győr and Newcastle) are project partners and they create urban-regional innovation (URIP) partnerships with the strategic organizations of urban government, business and civil society. URIPs provide insights into the variety of ways that nature-based solutions are used, in different urban conditions.

The project also conducts research and study trips to six cities in Europe and six cities around the world: Melbourne, Athens, Tianjin, Sofia, Edinburgh, Mexico City, Boston, Cape Town, Dublin, Montpellier and Winnipeg.

Among the NATURVATION products there is also the Atlas of urban nature, which contains 1000 examples of nature-based solutions of 100 European cities.

A course on NBS for an online learning community

On 13 January 2020 the project launched a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on nature-based solutions in an urban world. The MOOC will develop an online learning community and it will contain a collection of inspirational and educational movies on opportunities, challenges and the future of nature-based solutions. It is a 5-week free course that will take place 7 times a year, for which you can register from the project website. 

The course connects the key topics of nature, cities and innovation, by combining technical knowledge and social sciences in order to better understand nature-based solutions in a holistic perspective. It animates the discussion about how to evaluate which nature-based solutions maybe appropriate in cities and it examines the best forms of NBS innovation.


VEG-GAP Project - LIFE18 PRE IT 003
Duration: December 2018 - December 2021
Total Budget: 1,666,667 Euro
European Financial Contribution: 1,000,000 Euro
Coordinated by Mihaela Mircea, ENEA (IT)