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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

With the process comes the progress: A systematic review to support governance assessment of urban nature-based solutions

van der Jagt, Alexander P. N.; Buijs, Arjen; Dobbs, Cynnamon; van Lierop, Martina; Pauleit, Stephan; Randrup, Thomas B.; Skiba, Andrea; Wild, Tom


The last decade has seen a profound increase in the development of assessment frameworks for ecosystem ser-vices, green infrastructure and nature-based solutions (NBS). This has improved understanding of NBS impact assessment, including processual aspects related to participatory planning and governance. We argue that, although representing a move in the right direction, NBS assessment frameworks would benefit from a broader framing of governance, including the role of government-led laws, policies and regulations along with community-led and collaborative multi-stakeholder initiatives. The consideration of marginalised communities and environmental justice should also be strengthened. To ensure a feasible and comprehensive approach to NBS governance assessment, we carried out a systematic literature review on the topic of urban NBS governance. Using thematic analysis, we developed a framework of five themes encompassing nine governance dimensions, of which some are further broken down into sub-dimensions. To assess the different NBS governance dimensions, we developed a tool in the format of a survey for urban decision-makers and other stakeholders, encompassing nine urban NBS governance indicators corresponding with the identified dimensions. Further to complementing NBS governance assessment approaches in important ways, we were able to highlight knowledge gaps around integrating features of the planning process and community-based or traditional knowledge. Our tool for monitoring urban NBS governance is simple to use and provides cities with a low-cost and comprehensive approach for monitoring and evaluating their readiness for mainstreaming NBS.


Environmental governance; Environmental assessment; Urban nature -based solutions; Environmental justice; Governance indicators; Community-based knowledge; Participatory monitoring

Published in

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening
2023, Volume: 87, article number: 128067

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    UKÄ Subject classification

    Landscape Architecture
    Public Administration Studies

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