This is a PhD research activity included in the H2020 / SCC-03-2016 project framework "Nature4Cities" (Nature Based Solutions for re-naturing cities: knowledge diffusion and decision support platform through new collaborative models). Please visit this page for further information: https://www.list.lu/en/project/nature4cities/
Abstract of the PhD project: The innovativeness in nature-based solutions (NBS) lies in the benefits these projects can provide on the long-lasting sustainability of urban contexts in which there are adopted. In the framework of the work package 4 of the H2020 project 'Nature4Cities' (WP4: NBS socio-economic values assessment), leaded by LIST, economic benefits, co-benefits and their alternatives underpinning the innovation strategies at urban scale will be considered to support the feasibility and impact evaluation of NBS. These benefits can be mostly quantified through the assessment of so-called (urban) ‘ecosystem services' (ES, i.e. the benefits individuals and communities can freely get from (urban) ecosystems. Among the most suitable and effective approaches to allow understanding and quantifying the sustainability of such novel systems are those that explicitly consider the nexus(es) between the human/technosphere and the eco-spheres (incorporating more human and natural components simultaneously, accounting for feedbacks, integrating multiple temporal and spatial scales, and translating information for policy and practice).
The Multiscale Integrated Models of Ecosystem Services (MIMES) was built to respond to such needs, and it will be used in WP4 of Nature4Cities to develop an innovative and unprecedented evaluation framework for: i) setting up comparative socio-economic scenarios of NBS in cities based on a consequential life cycle assessment rationale, and ii) implementing an operational decision-making tool to investigate the impact (both in terms of economic gains and loss, and related synergies and trade-offs) of adopting nature-based solutions in cities on the supply of urban ES. To this end, a PhD project is activated within WP4 that aims at developing a socio-economic impact assessment tool for NBS grounded on the system dynamics framework of MIMES. Such a novel modelling approach, designed to represent a number of urban metabolism systems, will allow to assess benefits and co-benefits of NBS from a functional point of view and to enhance the capability for multi-criteria assessment of environmental impacts. The PhD project will further aid the Nature4Cities team to translate and complete the impact evaluations generated in other work packages according to an integrated costs-benefits monetary and social evaluation. The outputs from the simulation tool developed in the project will also support the implementation of new business and financial models in other work packages of Nature4Cities.