Cities all over the world are struggling with the consequences of climate change. To combat them, policy is increasingly focusing on nature-based solutions (NBS). NBS include green, blue and hybrid infrastructures that use natural processes to address climate change in an integrated way.

NBS are cost-effective and offer a range of co-benefits beyond their ecological functions. Despite this, their implementation remains slow. NBS are usually paid for with public budgets, which also in Flanders systematically prove inadequate. In response, international discourse increasingly suggests to tap into private capital pools. The question remains, however, as to how this capital can effectively be mobilized for NBS projects. NBS often have high initial costs and benefits that are difficult to translate into cash flows. New financial models are therefore necessary. In this project, we investigate three forms of innovative financing: value capturing, impact financing and crowdfunding via initial coin offerings (ICOs).

New financing and funding models cannot be separated from their societal context. We therefore take a holistic approach and evaluate financing instruments in terms of their spatial, legal, policy, economic and social impact. Through living labs, we evaluate these dimensions in an integrated way and optimize their usefulness for users.

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Researchers: Tara Op de Beeck, Chris den Heijer, Tom Coppens
Period: 2021-2025