Understanding attitudes towards the adoption of nature-based solutions and policy priorities shaped by stakeholders’ awareness of climate change

Ferreira, V., Barreira, A. P., Pinto, P., Panagopoulos, T. (2022)


Climate change is affecting cities worldwide. Accordingly, cities are required to find sustainable solutions to tackle climate change’s effects, designing bottom-up policies to enhance their success. The involvement of stakeholders plays a central role in the definition of appropriate policies to tackle the challenges posed to cities by climate change. Nature-based solutions (NBS) are increasingly proposed to adapt to and mitigate the adverse effects of climate change. This study aims to assess the coherence of the policies emerging from stakeholders’ perceptions of urban climate challenges and their preferred NBS to tackle them. Indeed, it considers whether departing from different urban climate challenges, stakeholders’ choices present a coherent articulation between priority interventions, proposed solutions and expected benefits. Using a survey applied to two Portuguese cities and the chi-squared automatic interaction detector (CHAID) algorithm, we analyse the answers provided by stakeholders. The stakeholders’ perceptions and preferences were not significantly influenced by their hierarchical position in their institutions, their city’s location and socioeconomic setting. Heatwaves and temperature rise together with drought and water scarcity are identified as future urban challenges in Portugal. Priority interventions, as well as preferred NBS and their expected benefits, are addressed. The results show that stakeholders may make decisions that form a coherent policy, in which acknowledgment of climate change’s effects interconnects with related priority interventions, suitable NBS and their benefits.

Keywords: Nature-based solutions; Stakeholders’ perceptions; Stakeholders’ preferences; Sustainable city.

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