Scientific publications

Setting the Social Monitoring Framework for Nature-Based Solutions Impact: Methodological Approach and Pre-Greening Measurements in the Case Study from CLEVER Cities Milan

Publication date: 27 August 2021

Authors: Israa H. Mahmoud (1), Eugenio Morello (1), Chiara Vona (2), Maria Benciolini (2), Iliriana Sejdullahu (3), Marina Trentin (3) and Karmele Herranz Pascual (4)
Affiliations: Laboratorio di Simulazione Urbana Fausto Curti (Labsimurb), Department of Architecture and Urban Studies (DAStU), Politecnico di Milano (1), Cooperativa Sociale Eliante Onlus (2), Ambiente Italia (3), TECNALIA, Energy and Environment Division (4)

In this research paper, the authors consider the application of NBS as a catalyst for social inclusivity in urban regeneration strategies, enabled through civic participation in the co-creation of green interventions with respect to social cohesion and well-being. The paper is focused on a social monitoring framework elaborated within the H2020 CLEVER Cities project, with the city of Milan as a case study... Continue reading

Co-creation Pathways to Inform Shared Governance of Urban Living Labs in Practice: Lessons From Three European Projects

Publication date: 6 August 2021

Authors: Israa Hanafi Mahmoud (1), Eugenio Morello (1), David Ludlow (2) and Giuseppe Salvia (1,3)
Affiliations: Laboratorio di Simulazione Urbana Fausto Curti (Labsimurb), Department of Architecture and Urban Studies (DAStU), Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy (1), Faculty of Environment and Technology, University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom (2), The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, University College London, London, United Kingdom (3)

This research paper, analyzes co-creation pathways and different shared governance mechanisms in three ongoing European projects: CLEVER Cities, Sharing Cities, and SUNEX projects from a practical perspective. This comparative study investigates stakeholder engagement (1) scales, (2) mechanisms, (3) methodologies of engagement, and finally the co-creation pathway challenges and pitfalls.... Continue reading

A Multi-Level Perspective on the Sustainability Transition towards Nature-Based Solutions and Co-Creation in the Urban Planning of Belgrade, Serbia

Publication date: 7 July 2021

Authors: Ana Mitić-Radulović (1), Ksenija Lalović (2)

Affiliations: Centre for Experiments in Urban Studies — CEUS (1), Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade (2)


Achieving clear, coherent, and ambitious urban greening strategies, embedded in urban planning and developed in a co-creative, participatory and inclusive manner, is highly challenging within the EU enlargement context. In this article, such challenges are studied through two recent urban development initiatives in Belgrade, the Capital of Serbia: the first initiative focuses on planning the new Linear Park, within the framework of the CLEVER Cities Horizon 2020 project; the second initiative envisages the transformation of the privatised Avala Film Complex in the Košutnjak Urban Forest, primarily led by private interests but supported by the local authorities.... Continue reading

Stakeholder Participation in the Planning and Design of Nature-Based Solutions. Insights from the CLEVER Cities Project in Hamburg

Publication date: 27 February 2021

Authors: Alessandro Arlati (1), Anne Rödl (2), Sopho Kanjaria-Christian (3) and Jörg Knieling (1)

Affiliations: Department of Urban Planning and Regional Development, HafenCity University Hambur (1), Institute of Environmental Technology and Energy Economics, Hamburg University of Technology (2), Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, District of Harburg (3)


Deploying NbS in urban contexts requires the cooperation of different public and private stakeholders to manage those processes. In this paper, the experiences of establishing and managing NbS-related processes following a co-creation approach in the city of Hamburg within the framework of an EU-funded research project (CLEVER Cities) are described and analyzed. The paper identifies and discusses the main emerging factors and challenges from (1) a procedural and methodological perspective and (2) concerning the different roles of the diverse stakeholders involved. This discussion is grounded in the context of existing regulations and novel concepts for citizens’ participation in urban decision-making processes... Continue reading

Co-creation Pathway for Urban Nature-Based Solutions: Testing a Shared-Governance Approach in Three Cities and Nine Action Labs

Publication date: 10 February 2021

Authors: Israa Mahmoud, Eugenio Morello

Affiliation: Laboratorio di Simulazione Urbana Fausto Curti, Dipartimento di Architettura e Studi Urbani Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy


Part of the Green Energy and Technology book series (GREEN)


Nature-based solutions (NBS) implementation in urban contexts has proven outcoming multiple benefits to reverse the current trend of natural resources’ degradation adversely affecting biodiversity, human health, and wellbeing. Yet, the current urban-planning policy frameworks present a rigid structure to integrate NBS definitions, and their co-benefits to get mainstreamed and up scaled on a wider urban spatial dimension. In this research, we test a complete co-creation pathway that encourages decision-makers to embed citizen engagement methodologies as an approach to co-design and co-implement NBS in shared-governance processes aiming to increment the greening of urban spaces, towards more inclusive and climate resilient cities... Continue reading

Co-creating Nature-based Solutions for Healthy and Sustainable Cities: The Urban Public Health Approach

Publication date: 30 September 2020

Authors: J Skodra (1), S Zorita (2), I Garcia Perez (2), S Moebus (1)

Affiliations: Institute for Urban Public Health, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany (1), TECNALIA, Basque Research and Technology Alliance, Derio, Spain (2)


Urban green spaces are necessary for developing healthy and sustainable cities. However, there is a need for the transdisciplinary co-creation processes including multidisciplinary partners and local community to ensure that different population groups use NBS and that health, social and environmental benefits are maximised. The three CLEVER Cities pilot cities, Hamburg, London and Milan, have formed Urban Innovation Partnerships (UIP) based on the stakeholder mapping. Each UIP involves citizens, companies, universities and local authorities to support CLEVER Action Labs (CAL) as alliances of local actors involved in the co-creation and assessment of place-based NBS interventions. The Theory of Change method (impact chain) was used to structure the transdisciplinary process, by initially determining the desired long-term outcomes related to the above-mentioned challenges... Continue reading

Are Nature-based Solutions the Answer to the Urban Sustainability Dilemma? The case of CLEVER Cities' CALs

Publication date: April 2020

Authors: Israa Mahmoud, Eugenio Morello

Affiliation: Laboratorio di Simulazione Urbana Fausto Curti, Dipartimento di Architettura e Studi Urbani Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy


This study addresses the implementation of Nature-based S olutions (NBS) in three urban living labs in Milan as an experimental co-creation process. Theideation is mainly based on co-designing and co-implementing the possible NBS interventions with multiplicity of local stakeholders and involving citizens. The planned interventions starting in June 2019, in urban living labs knownas CLEVER Action Labs (CALs), are summarized as follows: (1) Public tender for promoting green roofs and greenfacades in private buildings, (2) Giambellino 129 public park, and (3) vertical green interventions on the new Tibaldi train stop ; these are subject to investigation based on scale of application, urban policies,and governance. The comparative analysis between the three CALs showed: (1) a great potential to incentivize greening alliances and taxbonds from the local governmental authority, (2) the place-based morphology influences the urban resilience of theoverall space context. ... Continue reading

The Co-Creation Pathway as a Catalyst for Implementing Nature-based Solution in Urban Regeneration Strategies: Learning from the CLEVER Cities Framework and Milano as a Test-bed

Publication date: April 2018

Authors: Israa Mahmoud, Eugenio Morello

Affiliation: Laboratorio di Simulazione Urbana Fausto Curti, Dipartimento di Architettura e Studi Urbani Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy


This research paper explores the originality of using Co-Creation as Pathway for cities to better implement NBS and achieve flexible, open, equitable urban resilience, and climate change adaptation strategies.  Dynamic co-creation builds on involving stakeholders and engaging local communities at every stage of the process; moreover, it is based on collective governance and has social, economic and environmental ‘Co-benefits’ as outputs. Primarily, the aim of this paper is to highlight the innovation of Co-Creation tools towards addressing NBS challenges, as well as the assessment of  front-runner cities’  governmental  approaches the establishment of Co-creation processes... Continue reading