In recent years, cities are going through major changes and facing major challenges in terms of sustainability. In order to promote the green transition, today many urban centres needs to plan the regeneration of brownfield areas. In this context, Nature-Based Solutions (NBSs) are often considered an effective tool to promote the green transition and the sustainable development of cities, especially thanks to the numerous ecosystem services they can provide. However, even though the effectiveness of NBSs is now recognised, there are still many barriers to their implementation. According to existing literature, one of these barriers is the effective assessment of the benefits provided by NBSs.

In order to fill this gap, this study analyses two alternative NBS-based intervention scenarios for the redevelopment of an urban brownfield area within the municipality of Brescia (Italy). Specifically, these interventions involve an urban forest and meadows with sparse trees. The study assesses nine ecosystem services, both in biophysical and economic terms, through a combination of modeling (InVEST, i-Tree and ESTIMAP) and traditional estimation methods. According to the study’s results, both scenarios improve the stock and flow of ecosystem services compared to the baseline, providing annual flows ranging between €140,000 and €360,000/year. Overall, the results highlight the potential of the proposed NBS to improve urban resilience. Finally, this study provides an example of how research and practice can be integrated to inform urban management activities and provide input for future decision-making and planning processes regarding urban developments.

 Urban Forests and Green Areas as Nature-Based Solutions for Brownfield Redevelopment: A Case Study from Brescia Municipal Area (Italy)


Forests, Volume 13, Issue 3 (March 2022)