From One to Many Natures: Integrating Divergent Urban Nature Visions to Support Nature-Based Solutions in Australia and Europe

Maria Ignatieva, Diana Dushkova, Daniel Jan Martin, Fahimeh Mofrad, Katherine Stewart, Michael Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Urban nature and ways of protecting, designing and even mimicking natural processes are some of the most popular themes inspiring humanities and natural science studies in different disciplines around the globe. Urban nature, green infrastructure and nature-based solutions are three intertwined concepts. This paper will highlight some of the many visions for urban nature (e.g., four urban natures: native, cultivated, designed/horticultural and spontaneous natures) and interpretations of nature-based solutions. While there are some similarities in the interpretation of urban natures by different disciplines, some significant differences exist. This paper analyses and synthesises knowledge from divergent theoretical concepts of urban natures in Europe and Australia, and the associated ecological concepts of novel and designed ecosystems. The complexity of urban natures and native landscapes has fostered the development of several typologies that often lead to misunderstanding between discipline areas and difficulties with practical implementation, such as in urban planning or landscape design. We argue that differences in interpreting the scope of urban nature are often underlined by the specific socio-political, historical, cultural and ecological contexts of a country or region (e.g., Australia and Europe). By applying an interdisciplinary approach, we explore the concept of urban natures by analysing and synthesising links between different disciplines. A transdisciplinary perspective is an important premise for collaboration between ecological sciences and landscape architecture in many restoration projects, or when social and ecological sciences jointly address societal challenges with the help of nature-based solutions co-created using participatory approaches. The latter highlights the role of transdisciplinary research to link practitioners, policymakers and scientists, helping to engage with citizens and inform design. The analysis of several examples from Europe and Australia allowed us to depict different approaches to existing urban natures and methods of their design, enhancement and conservation. These examples highlight that different urban natures are sources of inspiration for nature-based solutions that can be successfully implemented in contemporary landscape and planning practice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4640
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'From One to Many Natures: Integrating Divergent Urban Nature Visions to Support Nature-Based Solutions in Australia and Europe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this