Project: Enabling green-blue infrastructure in complex social-ecological regions - system solutions to wicked problems

Acronym ENABLE (Reference Number: 46)
Duration 30/09/2016 - 29/09/2019
Project Topic Addressing urban pressures through the maintenance and restoration of green and blue infrastructure (GBI) is key to building a healthy and resilient society. Accordingly, ENABLE employs a range of methods to identify, assess and facilitate a cost-effective implementation of GBI for an optimized distribution of benefits and wider uptake. Although infrastructure implies interaction and connection among many components of GBI, we argue that connections to the wider social-ecological system must also be included to enable the success of GBI. As such, the project framework will enable the identification of (1) the environmental, social and economic benefits provided by GBI, (2) the societal demands, preferences and values attached to GBI and biodiversity, and (3) pathways for cities to align these considerations via the targeted provisioning of GBI. Key aspects such as mental and physical health, social justice and cohesion, eco-gentrification, the socio-economic stratification of urban inhabitants and access rights are integrated into the ENABLE assessment framework in order to ensure a holistic understanding of GBI interventions. Significant stakeholder involvement underlies this approach, with the participation of local communities, practitioners and policy-makers playing a central role via the selected city case studies. ENABLE’s inclusion of urban revitalization programmes, brownfield regeneration, disaster risk management, and damage reduction (e.g. flooding events and urban heat islands) provide further evidence for the multifunctionality of GBI solutions. This approach will add to the growing evidence body for healthy ecosystems enhancing not only economic vitality and serving as effective climate change mitigation and adaptation tools, but also for improving human health and societal well-being. The framing of GBI as a multifunctional tool and the development of a robust evidence base supporting these claims, which will be produced in ENABLE, will serve to increase the support of GBI by decision-makers and attract wider public and private cross-sectoral investment support. As we see the function of GBI as strongly influenced by social-ecological contextual factors we will invest heavily in studies of governance, including decision-making and its scales, humans’ motivations and perceptions, and the access to benefits they could potentially derive from urban ecosystem services. We will then take this system understanding one step further and examine temporal dynamics and how principles of resilience building could influence and support GBI functionality over time in the face of current and coming challenges to urbanizing systems. We will consider a broad range of settings and pre-conditions through working with cases in which the ENABLE the team already has extensive data/knowledge at our disposal. Knowledge exchange tools will also be utilized in order to ground the policy discussion, enable learning and develop targeted and operational recommendations for policy makers, practitioners, potential investors, and other relevant actors within and outside of the study regions to improve the design and implementation of GBI and highlight opportunities in creating markets for innovative solutions. The geographic selection of case studies across Europe and the U.S. not only offers the advantage of synergies in knowledge development and learning, but will also facilitate a better understanding of the policy implications and potential applications of GBI in various countries and urban/rural settings. Stakeholder engagement and capacity development will further support and guide cities and urbanized regions in Europe in the establishment and enhancement of multifunctional GBI. ENABLE will create linkages and build on existing initiatives, networks and projects that partners are involved in and ICLEI and IUCN as multi-stakeholder networks will also ensure strong linkages with their members, EU organizations, national governments and government agencies, NGOs and cities, municipalities and subnational governments around the world.
Network BiodivERsA3
Call BiodivERsA3 Joint Call 2015

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Stockholm University Coordinator Sweden
2 IUCN - International Union for Conservation of Nature Partner Belgium
3 Ecologic Institute gGmbH Partner Germany
4 European Regional Centre on Ecohydrology Partner Poland
5 Humboldt Universität Berlin Partner Germany
6 ICLEI Partner Germany
7 The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research Partner Norway
8 Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Partner Spain
9 Uniwersytet Łódzki Partner Poland
10 DRIFT, Erasmus University Rotterdam Observer Netherlands
11 The New School Observer United States