Nature futures for the urban century: Integrating multiple values into urban management

Andressa V. Mansur*, Robert I. McDonald, Burak Güneralp, Hye Jin Kim, Jose A.Puppim de Oliveira, Corey T. Callaghan, Perrine Hamel, Jan J. Kuiper, Manuel Wolff, Veronika Liebelt, Inês S. Martins, Thomas Elmqvist, Henrique M. Pereira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is an emerging consensus that the health of the planet depends on the coexistence between rapidly growing cities and the natural world. One strategy for guiding cities towards sustainability is to facilitate a planning process based on positive visions for urban systems among actors and stakeholders. This paper presents the Urban Nature Futures Framework (UNFF), a framework for scenario building for cities that is based on three Nature Futures perspectives: Nature for Nature, Nature for Society, and Nature as Culture. Our framework engages stakeholders with envisioning the three Nature Futures perspectives through four components using participatory methods and quantitative models: identification of the socio-ecological feedbacks in cities, assessment of indirect impacts of cities on biodiversity, development of multi-scale indicators, and development of scenarios. Stakeholders in cities may use this framework to explore different options for integrating nature in its various manifestations within urban areas and to assess how different community preferences result in various cityscapes and distribution of associated benefits from nature among urban dwellers across multiple scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-56
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Early online date1 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is a joint effort from researchers who participated in the sUrBio2050 working group ( ) held in October 2019, in Leipzig, kindly supported by the sDiv, the Synthesis Centre ( ) of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, funded by the German Research Foundation (FZT 118, 02548816 ). The workshop was built on a recent global effort drawing linkages between urban growth and natural systems (see the report McDonald et al., 2018 ), which stresses the need for different pathways scenarios to plan for the urban future. We appreciate the work of the IPBES expert group on Nature Futures scenarios and modeling - visioning, framework, methodological guide - from which this manuscript was inspired.

© 2022 The Authors


  • Biodiversity
  • Cities
  • Human well-being
  • Nature Futures Framework
  • Positive futures
  • Scenarios
  • Urban
  • Visions

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