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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

The role of nature-based solutions and senses of place in enabling just city transitions

Raymond, Christopher M.; Stedman, Richard; Frantzeskaki, Niki


Discussions about just transitions and nature-based solutions (NBS) often articulate an essentialist sense of place perspective that emphasises stasis through combinations of belonging, rootedness, continuity, attachment and connections among sites, scales and subjectivities. In response, we demonstrate how a progressive understanding of "senses" of place that embraces fluid place meanings accessible at different temporal and spatial scales enables a new understanding of the interface between structural and emotional transformation of place, as well as rethinking of just urban transitions. We present four transformation modalities that reconsider people-place, people-nature, and people-institutional relations pertinent to environmental justice and use case examples to demonstrate their relevance to NBS planning. We conclude by offering two overarching principles for urban policy, planning, and governance for fostering just transitions through NBS. First, NBS planning needs to pur-posively activate structural and emotional transformations through experimentation to enhance procedural justice. Second, NBS co-design and implementation should consider the dynamic interplay between recognition and distribution justice to engage multiple senses of place.


Sense of place; Environmental justice; Nature -based solutions; People -nature relationships; Place meanings; Transformations

Published in

Environmental Science and Policy
2023, Volume: 144, pages: 10-19

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Human Geography

    Publication Identifiers


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