Mainstreaming Nature-based Solutions - The Impact of Societal Dynamics on Risk and Adaptation Perspectives of Pluvial Floods in Malmö
Abstract: Cities around the world are not only facing the impacts of climate change but are also increasingly charged with the responsibility to adapt. The city of Malmö in Sweden, facing the consequences of ever-so-present pluvial floods, has set an objective to increase the use of multifunctional Nature-based Solutions (NBS) in its urban stormwater planning. Nevertheless, despite evidence pointing at the effectiveness of, and the largely positive perception around the solutions, the efforts to mainstream NBS are progressing slowly. This thesis takes an exploratory grounded-theory approach to expand the conventional understanding of hindrances to mainstreaming. With the mixed methods of semi-qualitative interviews and document analysis, three main aspects are addressed: (1) different stakeholders’ perceptions of NBS, (2) obstacles that are hindering their mainstreaming, and (3) best practices that could facilitate the process. The results show that technical, institutional, and socio-political challenges are creating a societal lock-in from which it is difficult to proceed with a simple top-down management approach. Moving forward, the need for better cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary cooperation is identified, alongside stronger private stakeholder engagement. These findings add complexity to the debates pertaining to cities’ capacity to take action in the face of climate change and declining biodiversity. Further, it provides a grounded take on the realities and limits of NBS on practitioner level arguing that whilst the solutions offer various co-benefits, the actual realisation thereof remains a challenge.
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