Throughout the history of nature conservation there has been major conflicts of interest between different stakeholders, for instance, between national governments and local communities. These conflicts have been most profound and visible for international conservation interventions, such as establishing protected areas in Lesser Developed Countries. However, with the recent focus on implementing nature-based solutions (NbS) in urban and peri-urban landscapes, the fraught nature of conservation interventions is increasingly being felt in urban areas. Certain stakeholders perceive NbS as ‘messy’, unkempt, and unmanaged spaces, while local authorities view them as vital for mitigating effects of anthropogenic climate change (ACC) in urban and peri-urban areas, (e.g., planting urban forests, creating urban green -and- blue-spaces and re-wilding initiatives). NbS projects are thought to maximise delivery of ecosystem services, improving everything in urban landscapes ranging from health and well-being and carbon sequestration to biodiversity and flood mitigation. The benefits of NbS are seen by certain stakeholders as an acceptable solution to attenuate the negative impacts of urbanisation on natural habitats by safeguarding some of the benefits of nature in urban spaces. However, NBS projects are far-removed from traditional manicured and managed urban landscapes, wherein urban gardens and forests, or re-wilding zones, come into direct conflict with citizens’ preferences and perception of what is acceptable in their neighbourhood.
It is within this framework that the project will contribute to address a fundamental knowledge gap: what factors shape citizens’ perceptions, attitudes, and behaviour toward NbS in urban and peri-urban environments? The primary aim of the project will be to investigate barriers to implementing nature-based solutions for climate adaptation in urban and peri-urban environments. A complimentary aim is to investigate whether ecosystem services provisioned by NbS are aligned with people’s perception of the NbS. The programme of research will take an interdisciplinary approach, integrating social science (e.g., contingency choice experiments) with ecology (e.g., biodiversity and ecosystem function) to get a comprehensive understanding of climate adaptation and mitigation policy adapted vis-a-vis NbS initiatives..