Nature-based solutions for enhancing urban regulating services

Authors and Affiliations: 

Davide Geneletti, Chiara Cortinovis, Linda Zardo, Blal Adem Esmail
Planning for Ecosystem Services - SusPlaces Lab
Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering
University of Trento

Corresponding author: 
Davide Geneletti

Regulating ecosystem services are linked to some of the most pressing urban challenges, from climate change adaptation to health. The integration of their mapping and assessment in urban planning is fundamental to achieve the associated policy goals, and to effectively implement nature-based solutions. However, such integration is made difficult by a limited flow of knowledge from science to planning practice. With the aim of providing planners with relevant information for integrating regulating services in urban plans, we studied a set of key regulating services (including air filtration, water regulation, noise reduction, micro-climate regulation), focusing on the analysis of the spatial interaction between the service providing units and the service benefitting areas. This resulted in a conceptual framework, based on a literature review. The framework illustrates the spatial properties of the providing units that determine their ecosystem service potential, and investigates the role played by ecosystem types and structure, spatial and temporal scales and environmental conditions of the context. Examples on how the framework can operationally assist planning practice by designing nature-based solutions are shown, drawing on case study application in the city of Trento, Italy. Particularly, the case application focus on the prioritisation of brownfield regeneration interventions through nature-based solutions, as part of an urban planning exercise. The proposed nature-based solutions involve different type of urban greening to maximise the provision of regulating services, and the fruition by different groups of beneficiaries.


Geneletti, D., Zardo, L., Cortinovis, C. (2016) Promoting nature-based solutions for climate adaptation i cities through impact assessment. In: Geneletti, D (Ed). Handbook on biodiversity and ecosystem services in impact assessment, Edward Elgar Publishing, 428-452.

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