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Nature-based solutions in urban contexts: A case study of Malmö, Sweden

Barton, Melissa LU (2016) In IIIEE Masters Thesis IMEN56 20161
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
Nature-based solutions (NBS) offer the potential to sustainably address environmental
problems in an urban context, with environmental, social, and economic benefits. As a
relatively new concept, NBS is poorly defined in the literature and there is great need for more
empirical information about implementation and impacts. This case study of the city of
Malmö, Sweden, attempts to understand the structure and function of communities working
on NBS within the city in the context of a practice theory framework. It identifies how
previous NBS have been implemented, and what outcomes were observed, as well as drivers
and barriers to NBS implementation and mainstreaming. A narrower definition of NBS is
proposed, requiring both a problem... (More)
Nature-based solutions (NBS) offer the potential to sustainably address environmental
problems in an urban context, with environmental, social, and economic benefits. As a
relatively new concept, NBS is poorly defined in the literature and there is great need for more
empirical information about implementation and impacts. This case study of the city of
Malmö, Sweden, attempts to understand the structure and function of communities working
on NBS within the city in the context of a practice theory framework. It identifies how
previous NBS have been implemented, and what outcomes were observed, as well as drivers
and barriers to NBS implementation and mainstreaming. A narrower definition of NBS is
proposed, requiring both a problem to address and an alternative conventional solution that
may be rejected. Three key developments with NBS projects were identified: the
redevelopment of Augustenborg with an open stormwater drainage system in response to
severe flooding; open drainage systems, green roofs, and other features in the Western
Harbour; and the large green roof in the new development of Hyllie. These NBS projects were
implemented by a complex interdisciplinary community consisting of members from city
departments, public utilities, developers, architects, and academic researchers. Historical
drivers include pressure from serious problems, such as flooding, and the dedicated work of
individuals, while barriers include institutional inertia and lack of knowledge, particularly of
the cost-benefit side of NBS. Over time the city’s planning focus has shifted from problemsolving
NBS with strong, measurable goals, to more symbolic projects better described as
green-blue infrastructure, lacking clear goals and in many cases a conventional alternative. This
appears to be due in part to the weakening of connections between different communities,
and thus a weakening of the NBS community of practice in Malmö. Recommendations are
provided for strengthening the NBS community of practice and facilitating knowledge transfer
within the city, as well as for areas of further research, both in evaluating environmental
impacts and in social impacts and aspects of implementation. NBS have the potential to play
an important role in addressing some of Malmö’s environmental and social challenges in the
future, but the concept and goals must be clearly defined, and projects implemented equitably
and evaluated for effectiveness. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Barton, Melissa LU
supervisor
organization
course
IMEN56 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
nature-based solutions, sustainability, green cities, green and blue infrastructure, urban planning
publication/series
IIIEE Masters Thesis
report number
2016:12
ISSN
1401-9191
language
English
id
8890909
date added to LUP
2016-09-06 11:55:34
date last changed
2016-09-06 11:55:34
@misc{8890909,
  abstract     = {Nature-based solutions (NBS) offer the potential to sustainably address environmental
problems in an urban context, with environmental, social, and economic benefits. As a
relatively new concept, NBS is poorly defined in the literature and there is great need for more
empirical information about implementation and impacts. This case study of the city of
Malmö, Sweden, attempts to understand the structure and function of communities working
on NBS within the city in the context of a practice theory framework. It identifies how
previous NBS have been implemented, and what outcomes were observed, as well as drivers
and barriers to NBS implementation and mainstreaming. A narrower definition of NBS is
proposed, requiring both a problem to address and an alternative conventional solution that
may be rejected. Three key developments with NBS projects were identified: the
redevelopment of Augustenborg with an open stormwater drainage system in response to
severe flooding; open drainage systems, green roofs, and other features in the Western
Harbour; and the large green roof in the new development of Hyllie. These NBS projects were
implemented by a complex interdisciplinary community consisting of members from city
departments, public utilities, developers, architects, and academic researchers. Historical
drivers include pressure from serious problems, such as flooding, and the dedicated work of
individuals, while barriers include institutional inertia and lack of knowledge, particularly of
the cost-benefit side of NBS. Over time the city’s planning focus has shifted from problemsolving
NBS with strong, measurable goals, to more symbolic projects better described as
green-blue infrastructure, lacking clear goals and in many cases a conventional alternative. This
appears to be due in part to the weakening of connections between different communities,
and thus a weakening of the NBS community of practice in Malmö. Recommendations are
provided for strengthening the NBS community of practice and facilitating knowledge transfer
within the city, as well as for areas of further research, both in evaluating environmental
impacts and in social impacts and aspects of implementation. NBS have the potential to play
an important role in addressing some of Malmö’s environmental and social challenges in the
future, but the concept and goals must be clearly defined, and projects implemented equitably
and evaluated for effectiveness.},
  author       = {Barton, Melissa},
  issn         = {1401-9191},
  keyword      = {nature-based solutions,sustainability,green cities,green and blue infrastructure,urban planning},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {IIIEE Masters Thesis},
  title        = {Nature-based solutions in urban contexts: A case study of Malmö, Sweden},
  year         = {2016},
}