Published in 2017

Excerpts from: EKLIPSE report: An impact evaluation framework to support planning and evaluation of nature-based solutions projects
(p.19-21 of the report)

Green and blue spaces (which are sometimes referred to as just “green spaces” for brevity) are areas based on natural and semi‐natural elements which provide a range of ecological (Elmqvist et al., 2015), economic (Claus and Rousseau, 2012) and societal benefits (Gómez‐Baggethun and Barton, 2013). A large variety of green and blue spaces exists, but all of them provide, to a greater or lesser extent, ecosystem services required for the resilience and sustainability of urban areas (Badiu et al., 2016).

Cities can strategically implement a combination of different existing, restored and new NBS using green space management plans (Andersson et al., 2014; van Veelen et al., 2015), starting from the principles present in European and national strategies and frameworks and local governance plans (Buijs et al., 2016; Elands et al., 2015), and adapting these to account for local conditions and practices, including the manner in which local people access the benefits of green and blue spaces.

Green and blue spaces are useful instruments for urban planners in achieving a sustainable urban structure, and they have a significant cultural and social dimension. They can provide elements characterizing the heritage and aesthetics of the area (Madureira et al., 2011; Niemelä, 2014), as well as being valued for recreation (Fors et al., 2015), social interaction (Kaźmierczak, 2013), education (Krasny et al., 2013) and supporting healthy living (Carrus et al., 2015).

Green and blue spaces are important for urban biodiversity in providing the required resources (Bennett et al., 2015) and habitats for species of interest (Niemelä, 2014), improving functional and structural connectivity at the urban level (Iojă et al., 2014) and increasing biodiversity knowledge or public support for conservation (Andersson et al., 2014).

Potential actions for NBS to contribute to green space management: 

  • Inventories, hierarchizing and representation of green and blue spaces (e.g. Mapping and Spatial Planning) (Buijs et al., 2016; Davies et al., 2015; Hansen et al., 2015; Martos et al., 2016).
  • Set clear and measurable quality and quantity requirements for existing and new NBS (Mazza et al., 2011; Pinho et al., 2016).
  • Make use of innovative, interdisciplinary planning methods for green space co‐design and co‐ implementation, including development of innovative social models for long‐term positive management (e.g. Citizen Engagement for Health) (Derkzen et al., 2015; Fernandez et al., 2015).
  • Create, enlarge, fit out, connect and improve green and blue infrastructure by implementing NBS projects (Kazmierczak and Carter, 2014; Landscape Institute, 2009; Madureira et al., 2011).

  • Conserve, improve and maintain existing NBS areas in respect to biodiversity (Elands et al., 2015; Elmqvist et al., 2015).

    Access the full report online at:

    (Raymond, C.M., Berry, P., Breil, M., Nita, M.R., Kabisch, N., de Bel, M., Enzi, V., Frantzeskaki, N., Geneletti, D., Cardinaletti, M., Lovinger, L., Basnou, C., Monteiro, A., Robrecht, H., Sgrigna, G., Munari, L. and Calfapietra, C. (2017) An Impact Evaluation Framework to Support Planning and Evaluation of Nature-based Solutions Projects. Report prepared by the EKLIPSE Expert Working Group on Nature-based Solutions to Promote Climate Resilience in Urban Areas. Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford, United Kingdom)