The implementation of nature-based solutions and green infrastructure: worthwhile examples of local barriers and potential opportunities

Date: 27.02.2024

The deployment of nature-based solutions (NBS) and green infrastructure (GI) is a fundamental asset to address environmental challenges in the pilot cities (Milan, Ptuj, Zagreb, Szeged, and Warsaw) involved in the GreenScape CE project.

The GreenScape CE project is a project financed by the Interreg Central Europe programme of the European Union that aims to lay the foundation for integrating green into gray infrastructure in urban areas thus contributing to climate-proof landscape and urban planning.

The first phase of the project aims at ‘Sowing the Seeds’, namely at analysing challenges, needs and opportunities to use NBS as an answer to adverse effects of climate changes in urban areas that will work on pilot actions. The objective of this first phase is to support local governments in participatory planning and developing Action plans related to the implementation of NBS in Central European countries that will trigger pilot actions in the five countries mentioned above.

In order to achieve this aim, the project consortium has produced an initial deliverable entitled “Typology and Criteria for planning GI and NBS on the local level”, where 17 NBS have been identified to tackle environmental challenges in urban areas across pilot cities, offering several benefits such as environmental resilience, biodiversity preservation, improved air quality, aesthetic value, water management, social cohesion, and urban heat island mitigation.

Following this first identification phase, the consortium of partners produced a “Gap analysis of Barriers and Opportunities in the deployment of NBS/GI at the local level”, exploring the technical, commitment and financial aspects by collecting data through questionnaires, desk research, stakeholder interviews and workshops.

Each pilot city has had the autonomy to employ the methods that best suited their local contexts, identifying the barriers and the possible opportunities related to them. By combining these methods, the gap analysis process comprehensively examines the existing state of NBS implementation and contrasts it with the targeted future state in pilot cities.

Some relevant outcomes from this analysis are:

  • The complex compatibility with existing Infrastructure;

  • How to sustain NBS over time and their cost considerations;

  • How to assimilate NBS projects with citizens and stakeholders priorities and interests;

  • The potential lack of time and resources for comprehensive engagement efforts;

  • The insufficient communication between Municipality/Institution departments;

  • The lack of Governmental or/and Regional Municipal incentives and subsidies;

  • The limited Municipal spending autonomy for GI/NBS.

The identification of these barriers in each of the five pilot cities of the project has paved the way for developing collaborations and opportunities to address the challenges of gray areas and make them greener and more sustainable for the lives of local communities.


As a consequence, this second deliverable represents an additional step towards Central European urban areas sustainable transformation, providing practical details on the implementation phase of NBI and GI solutions.