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RWTH Aachen University

Nature-based Urban Regeneration

RWTH Aachen University via edX


Cities around the world are seeking new, greener ways to transform their former industrial districts. These urban regeneration areas suffer from social and economic inequalities, lack quality green spaces and are significantly more vulnerable to climate change effects and natural hazards. Nature-based solutions (NBS) can contribute to improving environmental quality, social life and local economies in urban areas.

This course will show you how co-creating NBS can create liveable and productive green urban environments for empowered local communities and boost entrepreneurial value chains.

You will learn the basics of NBS in urban regeneration and how to co-design them with diverse stakeholders. A set of specific NBS in the fields of circular economy, urban food production and climate change adaption will be presented in detail. You will learn about NBS benefits for environmental quality, human health and wellbeing, socio-cultural inclusiveness and local economy and labour market, and how to apply scientific methods for monitoring and assessing them. Business models for NBS implementation and management will help you to set up your own nature-based renewal projects.

The course draws on research results of EU Horizon 2020 Innovation Action proGIreg. Living Labs in three European cities are developing, testing and assessing innovative NBS and will transfer their knowledge to you. Contributions come from leading universities and research institutions, practitioners from municipalities, NGOs and industry in this field.

As a major outcome, the course will guide you in setting up a nature-based regeneration project adapted to your local context from co-design to NBS implementation and benefit assessment.

Join us as you start on your journey to inclusive urban regeneration by using nature for renewal.


Week 1: The challenges of urban regeneration and the potential of NBS

The first module introduces you to the challenges of urban regeneration and the potential of NBS when transforming post-industrial cities, including the integration of NBS into wider regeneration approaches

Week 2: The City as a Living Lab for co-creating NBS

Module 2 introduces you to methods of context-specific analysis and locally adaptable trans-disciplinary innovation formats to engage local communities in developing liveable urban environments

Week 3: Productive solutions using nature for renewal

This module presents different types of productive nature-based solutions in detail incl. NBS such as urban agriculture, aquaponics and green roofs and walls and learn how to apply them

Week 4: NBS benefits and how to assess them

The fourth module introduces you to methods of monitoring and assessing a range of NBS benefits to society, economy and the environment

Week 5: Sustaining NBS: overcoming barriers, creating business models and Upscaling NBS

This module shows how to overcome barriers in NBS implementation and to create business models for productive green infrastructure to allow NBS upscaling to city level.

Taught by

Dr.-Ing. Axel Timpe, Margot Olbertz, M.Sc., Silvia Barbero, PhD., Emanuela Saporito, Dr. Carlo Calfapietra, Gabriele Guidolotti, PhD., Chiara Baldacchini, PhD. and Guiseppina Spano Ph.D.

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