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Building with Nature: a future proof strategy for coping with a changing and uncertain world

April 2021

EcoShape, a Dutch Foundation that manages the public-private innovation program Building with Nature, has released a white paper laying out how Nature-based Solutions (NbS) can contribute to building resilience in cities. The paper focuses on how the Building with Nature approach can help manage uncertainty around future climate risks.


The White Paper discusses how NbS can be applied to build a city’s climate resilience to water-related management challenges. It explores the different types and sources of uncertainty (see Figure 1), which are connected both to the problem at hand (such as climate change) or to the solutions that might be deployed (how well they will perform over time for instance).

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  • Will Bugler


The paper also acknowledges several significant barriers to the widespread uptake of NbS compared to traditional ‘grey’ infrastructure solutions. One of the main issues, according to the paper, is that NbS are often hampered by perceived uncertainty in the performance and implementation of such interventions.

The co-benefits of NbS are well documented but difficult to quantify. This paper points to an increasing body of evidence that showcases the value and functioning of NbS under both daily and extreme conditions. 

EcoShape expects that the demand for nature-based solutions will continue to grow as methods for quantifying its benefits improve and the number of examples of successful projects increases. This is a view that is supported by an increasingly favourable policy environment with policies such as the European Green Deal, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and an emphasis on NbS at the upcoming COP26 conference in Glasgow, UK in November.

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