Nature Based Solutions - Implementation Models Database

Distribution of public green spaces through the city, Urban farming, Green roofs, De-sealed areas

Smart City District Utrecht

A short description of the NSB

The Utrecht Smart Sustainable District is a European innovation project that aims at making the city centre of Utrecht more sustainable and healthier. Utrecht is selected as a pilot by the European Climate KIC programme Smart Sustainable Districts. The Programme also supports the project. Climate KIC consists of an association and a private company funded by the European Commission (European Institute of Innovation and Technology) that seeks to drive climate innovation through partnerships. Utrecht is taking a number of measures to stimulate sustainable behaviour: reduce car use, promote use of public transport and bicycles, energy neural constructions, efficient water management (water storage and re-use), sustainable heating and cooling systems, greening, more space for pedestrians, sustainable energy production, storage and consumption, green roofs and urban agriculture. These measures are necessary to deal with urban challenges such as air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. The municipality of Utrecht works together with international and national research institutes, citizens, local companies, Climate KIC and foundation the Jaarbeurs to realise the plans. An important aspect of the process is co-development and interaction with stakeholders from the neighbourhoods that are involved in this project by means of ïround table sessionsÍ in which they can discuss plans. . Other partners are the national transport companies and the ministry for infrastructure and the environment.

NBS Implementation context
Location Utrecht (The Netherlands)
Status (from - to) Project delivered (2015-2016)
NBS Scale City
NBS Impacts scale City
Urban density/ Soil consumption High (dense city center)
NBS Typology

NBS Uban Challenges
Climate Issues Climate mitigation
Climate adaptation
Other 0
Urban water management and quality Urban water management and quality
Flood management
Other 0
Air Quality Air quality at district/city scale
Air quality locally
Other 0
Urban Space and Biodiversity Biodiversity
Urban space design
Urban space management
Other 0
Urban Regeneration and Soil Air quality at district/city scale
Other 0
Resource efficiency Food, energy and water
Raw materials
Other 0
Public health and well-being Acustic
Quality of life
Other 0
Environmental justice and social cohesion Environmental Justice: Recognition
Environmental Justice: Procedural Justice
Environmental Justice: Distributional Justice
Environmental Justice: Capabilities
Environmental Justice: Responsibility
Social Cohesion
Other 0
Urban planning and governance Urban planning and form
Governance in planning
Other 0
People Security Control of crimes
Control of extraordinary events
Other 0
Green economy Circular economy
Bioeconomy activities
Direct economic value of NBS
Other 0
NBS Stakeholders & Governance

The main actor is the municipality of Utrecht that cooperates with other parties like private companies, citizens and universities by means of co-creation. The project is supported by a European organisation.

Initial actors (Leaders) Governments Local government/municipality (Utrech Municipality)
Involved actors Governments Regional / national government Local government/municipality Semi-government organizations / institutions Community Citizens Research institutions Market Private sector
Ecological scale City scale green networks
Governance model CLUSTER 5: Network Governance Collaborative governance
NBS Financial aspects

Global (estimated) cost of the project -
Financing mechanism CLUSTER 1: Public financing
NBS Business Models Archetype
Technological Substitute with renewables and natural processes
Social Non applicable
Organisational Non applicable
NBS Success and limiting factors
Process enablers
Knowledge Generation of evidence Research on benefits, Collaboration Co-creation
Governance Process efficiencies Collaboration, Co-creation and participation Involvement of urban government
Economy -
Process inibitors
Knowledge Technical inadequacy Lack of ready-to-apply scientific results, concepts and technologies
Governance Institutional barriers Lack of flexibility of decision making structures, Complexity of governance structure Goal misalignment
Economy -
IM Keywords
  • Collaborative governance

  • City scale green networks

  • Public financing

  • Substitute with renewables and natural processes