What are nature based solutions?

And how is OPERANDUM involved?

Nature based solutions (NBS) are solutions that are inspired and supported by nature. The goals of these solutions is to provide environmental, social and economic benefits and help build resilience by bringing natural features into cities and landscapes.

On a daily basis we hear about climate change, global warming, rising sea level, pollution and so on. This is happening due to the work of humans. By working together with nature we can reduce the impact of these problems. Luckily the working-together-with-nature concept is getting increased interest in climate regulation strategies. You can think of reducing carbon emission, protection of forests, bio-diversity preservation and many more solutions.

Nature based solutions in your own city

Did you know that you can run into a nature based solution in your own city? NBS you might have heard of are green rooftops, rooftop farming or urban meadows.

The history of green rooftops goes back a long time. One of the first designed landscapes was a roof garden commissioned by Pope Pius II in Italy in 1463. When we fast forward to today you can find them in a lot of cities. Not only makes it urban areas more green, it will bring a lot of benefits to the city and its people as well:

  •           Rainwater buffer
  •           Purified air
  •           Heat reduction
  •           Sound barrier
  •           Increased biodiversity
  •           Social interaction

Do you want to know if one of the 15 most interesting green roofs from around the world can be found near your home? Take a look here.

Bigger picture of NBS

You can’t only find nature based solutions in cities, they are applied all over the world. Past research on climate change has let to considerable improvements in developing protection policies. However, there was made use of traditional engineering which focuses on “grey protection measures”. You can think of the building of dams, concrete barriers to prevent coastal erosion,  defence to prevent flooding, etc. As these grey measures are not always feasible, more soft counter measurements are preferred such as early warning systems or increased community awareness.

Both the actions tend to reduce the risk that happens with climate change, but it leaves the hazard unchanged. This is where nature based solutions come in. They build upon the ecosystem that is already there and provide value through validated climate change scenarios. But as the word ‘scenario’ implies, a lot needs to be done on the design and implementation. This is where we at OPERANDUM come in!


Operandum stands for: OPEn-air laboRAtories for Nature baseD solUtions to Manage hydro-meteo risks

We don’t want to get stuck at the above mentioned scenarios, we want to help with reducing climate change. That is why OPERANDUM delivers tools and methods for the demonstration and market uptake of Nature Based Solutions to reduce the risks caused by extreme meteorological and climate events (Hydrometeorological hazards). I hear you ask, what are these hazards? You can think of floods, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, landslides or mudslides. Our solutions will bring natural features into cities and landscapes.

The 26 partners connected to this project work together to develop and test different nature based solutions in open-air laboratories. These open-air laboratories (OALs) are natural and rural living labs that cover a wide range of hazards with different climate projections, land use and socio-economic characteristics. They are mini worlds of their own, which will help in the battle against climate change. In total we have 10 different OALs in different parts of the world. This way we can cover different climate types and the hazards present at that location.

For this project we have received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Do you want to stay up to date on everything that we do? Subscribe to one (or all) of our social media channels: