On this page, you can find the most commonly asked questions about the Urban Nature Atlas. If, after consulting this page, you still have a specific question about the database or the projects please contact us via our contact form. 

How and why the Atlas was developed?

The Urban Nature Atlas was created as part of a work programme of the NATURVATION project, which aimed at developing the first comprehensive survey of nature-based solutions in European cities and produce an interactive database that allows users to examine how nature-based solutions are being implemented under different urban conditions. As part of the project, 1000 nature-based solutions were included in the Atlas from 100 European cities. The 100 cities included the 6 partner cities of the project where the project carried out in-depth research and 94 cities from the Eurostat Urban Audit. The 94 cities from the Urban Audit were systematically selected based on criteria and methods developed by the Ecologic Institute to ensure the representation of diverse urban conditions (e.g. economic development, demographics, governance structure, land-use, urban morphology, size) and environmental settings (e.g., temperature, rainfall, coastal/river location, the proportion of green space, climate vulnerability),  while also taking geographical distribution into account.

When was the Atlas developed?

Between January and August 2017. First, between January and May 2017, an online questionnaire was developed to collect information about nature-based solutions across Europe. During the course of June and July of 2017, this questionnaire was populated by Master students drawn from the Master’s Programmes of the CEU, Lund University and Utrecht University. In order to improve the quality of the answers provided in the questionnaires, the first stage of the quality check was carried out throughout the data collection period and a second quality evaluation – targeting specific questions – took place afterwards.

All nature-based solutions included in the Urban Nature Atlas were reviewed and updated between June and November of 2020, and new data was collected during that process. To know more about this process, please consult the Data Update section of the Methodology page.

Since May 2021, a process was launched to add additional nature-based solutions and extend it to a global scope.

How the project defined nature-based solutions?

According to the NATURVATION project, nature-based solutions are seen as deliberate interventions that can be inspired by or supported by nature in addressing urban challenges, such as climate change mitigation, water management, land use and urban development (Bulkeley et al, 2017). Within the project, existing green areas or structures are not considered de facto to be nature-based solutions. Instead, they are defined as being interventions that change or enhance the function of the area/structure to address current societal challenges. The projects included in the Urban Nature Atlas had to fulfill the following criteria:

  • The project had to address various urban societal challenges; e.g. climate mitigation, water management, human health and recreation, social justice.
  • The solutions had to have ‘function enhancing features; that change or enhance the function of the area/structure.
  • Use and the inspiration of nature to address an urban problem was either a physical intervention or a discursive one.
  • To know more about how nature-based solutions were identified and selected, please consult the Methodology approach page.
Will projects from other cities be included?

We are currently in the process of integrating the international Naturvation case studies in the Atlas and the database is now also open to submission of projects from any other cities across the globe. 

What type of information was collected about the cases presented in the Atlas?

For each project, information was collected about the objectives and targets, challenges addressed, ecosystem services provided, beneficiaries, scale, governance arrangements, policy drivers and enablers of the project, financing details, impacts and indicators, monitoring and evaluation details. While not all the data made publicly available in the Urban Nature Atlas, access to the full database can be requested for research purposes. 

What are the main findings, emerging from the database?

The CEU and the Ecologic Institute carried out basic profiling of the data collected, including the statistical analysis of the nature-based solutions, identification of general patterns of business and finance models, governance arrangements and stakeholder participation forms. In the future, the database will be studied for additional research purposes. The report is available here.

For further assessment results, please visit the Analysis page. 

How information about the cases was collected?

Data was collected from secondary sources via discourse analysis based on specific guidelines. Information reported in the database needed to be based on factual information (without exceptions), meaning that answers to any question could only be recorded in the database if an explicit reference could be provided. The data was collected from various online sources: online databases which include NBS good practices, scientific literature, local news articles, city administration webpages, green and blue infrastructure companies that report NBS interventions examples.

To know more about how the data was collected, please consult the Data Collection Process of the Methodology page.

The Atlas contains information about the sustainability challenges addressed by the projects. How did the data collectors confirm that these challenges were addressed?

The sustainability challenges addressed by the projects were to be identified based on the project goals, targets or implementation activities. If a project description or a document presenting the intervention mentioned an objective that aimed to address a specific challenge, we considered the project addressing that specific challenge - even in the absence of evidence for actual impacts.

The information in the Atlas about monitoring practices, in many cases, is unknown. How did the data collectors confirm that a project did not have monitoring activities?

Since the data collection was strictly based on factual and referenced information, in some cases, it was specifically stated that evaluations were not performed.  However, in many cases, no evidence could be found about monitoring activities in publicly available project documentation or in other relevant documents.

Some of the cases presented in the database appear at the same place in middle of the city. Are these at the correct location?

It was not always possible to identify the exact, street or district-level location of the nature-based solutions presented in the database. Such cases included city-wide projects (e.g. city tree-planting schemes), or cases including multiple locations (e.g. greening of bus stops stations). In case of such nature-based solutions, the location of the center of the city was assigned automatically.

Was the collected data verified?

Yes, the collected data was verified in two stages. The first one occurred while the data collectors submitted the questionnaires between June and August 2017. Supervisors at the CEU, Utrecht and Lund universities checked all questionnaires for inconsistencies, questions that might be forgotten without an answer, mistakes or incorrect input formats. After the data collection process was finished, specific questions were identified that could have a higher improvement potential, and wrong answers were corrected by the database team at CEU.

A similar process was undertaken during the data collection update in 2020, with three supervisors at CEU verified each questionnaire updated in the database.

My project is presented in the database, but I would like to suggest changes or additions. Who can I contact?

If you would like to provide additional information or request modifications, please can contact us via our contact form.

I would like to report a nature-based solution project, is it possible?

Yes, since May 2021 it is possible to submit a new project. To know more about how to create a user account and submit a new project go to the  Add a Project page.