The ENABLE Project: Supporting Green and Blue Infrastructure in Urban Areas

In an increasingly urbanized world, green and blue infrastructure (GBI) has the potential to tackle multiple environmental and social challenges. However, the successful design and implementation of GBI requires careful consideration of a number of aspects such as user rights, people’s perceptions of and accessibility to GBI benefits, and ecological connectivity. Over the next three years (2017-2019) the ENABLE project, funded by BiodivERsA, lead by the Stockholm Resilience Centre, will examine these aspects to advance knowledge and optimize the application of GBI in urban areas across Europe.

Mid-January, the partners of the ENABLE project met for a kick-off meeting at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. The project aims at enabling Green and Blue Infrastructure potential in complex social-ecologicial regions and will present a system approach for assessing local solutions.

Green infrastructure is a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas which is planned and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services such as water purification, air quality, space for recreation and climate mitigation and adaptation.[1] This network of green (land) and blue (water) spaces can foster biodiversity, improve quality of life and provide job opportunities. ENABLE brings together a diverse, multi-disciplinary group of partners from North, South, West and Central Europe and North America to help cities unlock the full potential of GBI to deliver these benefits and overcome challenges such as climate change, urbanization and social marginalization.

ENABLE has three main objectives: 1) advancing knowledge on implementing GBI, 2) creating an assessment framework, tools and approaches for evaluating performance and resilience of GBI and 3) identifying and mainstreaming GBI solutions in European urban areas.

Erik Andersson, Associate Professor at Stockholm Resilience Center and Coordinator of the ENABLE project emphasises that “cities can benefit from protecting its natural environment, by optimising green and blue infrastructure as part of urban planning and development”.

ENABLE will test possible GBI solutions to urban challenges in Halle, Barcelona, Lodz, Stockholm and Oslo, while also exchanging with the affiliated city of New York. It will work closely with local actors in the case study cities to examine how and under what conditions GBI benefits are appreciated by people, how benefits are distributed among urban residents, and how the continuation of GBI benefit-flows can be secured in the long-term. The project will create continuous exchange across disciplines to develop knowledge on the factors that influence the impact and performance of GBI.

Please see the first ENABLE Factsheet for a more detailed overview of the project aims, approach, case studies and partners.

Project partners

Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden (project lead);
Humboldt University, Institute of Geography, Germany;
Ecologic Institute, Germany;
University of Lodz, Poland;
European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology, Poland;
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Norway;
Autonomous University of Barcelona, Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Spain;
IUCN – International Union for Conservation of Nature;
ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability;
Erasmus University Rotterdam, Dutch Research Institute for Transitions, the Netherlands;
The New School, Urban Ecology Lab, USA

ENABLE is a three-year project (2017-2019) funded by Biodiversa – a network of national and regional funding organisations promoting pan-European research on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and offering innovative opportunities for the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity. BiodivERsA is funded under the EU Horizon 2020 ERA-NET COFUND scheme.

[1] http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/ecosystems/

Photo: Stockholm, View over the Old Town. Pixabay


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