Uptake and implementation of nature-based solutions: an analysis of barriers using interpretive structural modeling

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Cities increasingly have to find innovative ways to address challenges arising from climate change and urbanization. Nature-based solutions (NBS) have been gaining attention as multifunctional solutions that may help cities to address these challenges. However, the adoption and implementation of these solutions have been limited due to various barriers. This study aims to identify a taxonomy of dominant barriers to the uptake and implementation of NBS and their relationships. Fifteen barriers are identified from the literature and expert interviews and then ranked through a questionnaire. Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) serves to identify the mutual interdependencies among these barriers, which results in a structural model of six levels. Subsequently, Cross-impact matrix multiplication applied to classification (MICMAC analysis) is used to classify the barriers into four categories. The results suggest that political, institutional and knowledge-related barriers are the most dominant barriers to NBS. Cities that intend to apply NBS can draw on these findings, especially by more effectively prioritizing and managing their actions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110749
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date12 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2020


FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020730052


    • Barriers
    • Interpretive structural modeling
    • NBS
    • Nature-based solutions
    • Strategic planning
    • Climate Change
    • Urbanization
    • Cities


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    • UNALAB GA 730052

      den Ouden, E. (Project member), Sarabi, S. (Project communication officer), Valkenburg, A. C. (Project communication officer), Greve, M. (Project member), van Woerden, J. (Project member) & van Woerden, J. (Project Manager)


      Project: Research direct

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