An action framework for the participatory assessment of nature-based solutions in cities

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


Impact assessment is a key step in mainstreaming urban nature-based solutions (NBS). Yet, it remains unclear if and how assessment frameworks influence urban planning, design and management. We contend that the potential of current NBS assessment frameworks is not fully exploited due to: (1) limited contextualisation of monitoring and assessment to place-specific contexts and (2) the depoliticisation of co-production. To address this, we present a practical five-step action framework to guide inclusive participation across different stages of monitoring and assessment of urban NBS, including indicator selection. Unlike previous approaches, applying selection criteria at the level of individual indicators, we also use criteria at the aggregate level of the indicator set. We conclude that participatory assessment contributes to mainstreaming urban NBS for sustainable and just cities, provided data is contextualised to local decision-making contexts and the process is designed to amplify marginalised voices.