To address challenges associated with climate resilience, health and well-being in urban areas, current policy platforms are shifting their focus from ecosystem-based to nature-based solutions (NBS), broadly defined as solutions to societal challenges that are inspired and supported by nature. NBS result in the provision of co-benefits, such as the improvement of place attractiveness, of health and quality of life, and creation of green jobs. Few frameworks exist for acknowledging and assessing the value of such co-benefits of NBS and to guide cross-sectoral project and policy design and implementation. In this paper, we firstly developed a holistic framework for assessing co-benefits (and costs) of NBS across elements of socio-cultural and socio-economic systems, biodiversity, ecosystems and climate. The framework was guided by a review of over 1700 documents from science and practice within and across 10 societal challenges relevant to cities globally. We found that NBS can have environmental, social and economic co-benefits and/or costs both within and across these 10 societal challenges. On that base, we develop and propose a seven-stage process for situating co-benefit assessment within policy and project implementation. The seven stages include: 1) identify problem or opportunity; 2) select and assess NBS and related actions; 3) design NBS implementation processes; 4) implement NBS; 5) frequently engage stakeholders and communicate co-benefits; 6) transfer and upscale NBS; and 7) monitor and evaluate co-benefits across all stages. We conclude that the developed framework together with the seven-stage co-benefit assessment process represent a valuable tool for guiding thinking and identifying the multiple values of NBS implementation.

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Keywords Cost effectiveness, Ecosystem services, Governance, Green infrastructure, Trade-offs
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Journal Environmental Science & Policy
Grant This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/603654 - Accelerating and Rescaling Transitions to Sustainability (ARTS), This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/603416 - Impacts and risks from higher-end scenarios: Strategies for innovative solutions (IMPRESSIONS), This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/603567 - Green Infrastructure and Urban Biodiversity for Sustainable Urban Development and the Green Economy (GREEN SURGE)
Raymond, C.M. (Christopher M.), Frantzeskaki, N, Kabisch, N, Berry, P. (Pam), Breil, M. (Margaretha), Nita, M.R. (Mihai Razvan), … Calfapietra, C. (Carlo). (2017). A framework for assessing and implementing the co-benefits of nature-based solutions in urban areas. Environmental Science & Policy, 77, 15–24. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2017.07.008