This catalogue, in its current version, is the outcome of the collaborative ongoing work conducted with and by the students of the Energy & Urban Planning Design Studio at the Politecnico di Milano during the fall semesters of 2017/2018 and 2018/2019.

It collects a number of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS), which is not exhaustive of course. The work still is under progress after integration of materials from students and review checks, but it already offers enough material to be used as a tool during design and co-design activities.

During the elaboration of this work, we faced several challenges, hence opening up many questions to further development. Firstly, how broad shall we go with the definition of NBS[1], or how deep into practical measures? Which are the boundaries to define nature-based solutions and does this include mainly – or exclusively – green (vegetation-based) solutions? Or shall we include other natural elements, like water, or even sun, which are characterized by natural processes, according to a biomimicry approach that focuses on nature-inspired solutions?

Secondly, how to group NBS to create a sound taxonomy? Many taxonomies have been proposed; we decided to adapt the one proposed by Klimatek in 2017[2] because it sounded  suitable for supporting decision makers and planners for putting in practice physical interventions.

We are planning to expand the list of Nature-Based Solutions and achieve an incremental, possibly open and collaborative guidance for cities, policy makers and urban planners.

We lastly would like to thank Chiara Vona from Eliante for the materials provided, and Zeynep Arın Ilhan for the graphic editing and retouch on the NBS Cards work.

All editing and reviews was carried out by  Eugenio Morello and Israa Mahmoud. 


[1] We basically relied on the European Commission definition as: “actions inspired by, supported by or copied from nature that aim to help societies address a variety of environmental, social and economic challenges in sustainable ways.” European Commission. (2015). Towards an EU Research and Innovation policy agenda for Nature-Based Solutions & Re-Naturing Cities.

[2] Klimatek Project. (2017). Nature-based solutions for local climate adaptation in the Basque Country. Bilbao. Retrieved from