r u NbS?
realising urban Nature-based Solutions
Generating new and practical evidence for NbS in East African cities.
The future of global urban development is closely linked to the future of informal settlements. Climate change is expected to have severe impacts on informal settlements in sub-Saharan Africa. Nature-based solutions (NbS) are considered key in adapting to a changing climate while realising significant social and ecological benefits.
Realising Urban Nature-based Solutions (r u NbS?) is a “learning by doing” initiative by the Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI) in Kenya and the Centre for Community Initiatives (CCI) in Tanzania, supported by SwedBio. The project aims to provide practical evidence for the uptake, efficiency, and scalability of NbS specifically in managing water in informal settlements.
Therefore, in the course of r u NbS, new nature-based water management solutions are co-designed, and built in informal neighbourhoods in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, and evaluated using a MEL framework developed under the project.
Under r u NbS in Dar es Salaam's and Nairobi's informal settlements several NbS to tackle water management challenges have been implemented since 2019.
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NbS co -design process
To design, build, and test Nature-based Solutions (NbS), and their suitability to tackle water management challenges in informal urban neighbourhoods a participatory design and construction process can be used which involve various stages and activities. These stages and activities include;
To find out more about each stage kilck on read more.
Monitoring, Evaluation + Learning
Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL) is important as we are aiming to bring about knowledge exchange and to build evidence - bridging the knowledge gap on NbS in informal settlements. “Learning” is a key objective - and to do so, our interventions need to be evaluated in a robust, consistent, and comparable way.
The r u NbS MEL framework is a tool aimed at capturing the environmental, social, and economic performance of the implemented NbS under r u NbS with emphasis on perspectives of residents. The MEL framework was developed to be appropriate and applicable in the informal context, and to the specific challenges faced in such while at the same time being flexible to be applied in radically different physical contexts. Consequently, the r u NbS MEL framework gives insight into the potential and scaling of NbS.
River + People planning process
Many informal settlements in cities form and grow on marginal, hazardous, or environmentally fragile and sensitive spaces including river riparian land. This has a degrading effect on urban rivers as inhabitants of these settlements abstract various environmental services from the river, including sanitation and solid waste disposal, as a substitute for the typically inadequate to lacking municipal infrastructure and services. On the other hand, the location of people along the river channel exposes them to water-related risks including flooding and diseases, which are exacerbated by minimal infrastructure, and the negative impacts of climate change.
To address this challenge the r u NbS team is applying, what we call the rivers and people planning approach, a participatory planning approach for river infrastructure, through a blue-green infrastructure masterplan that places future river uses in the context of large municipal planning and infrastructure investments, including by linking river infrastructure to settlement and city-wide infrastructure systems and plans, while at the same time meeting localised environmental, social, physical, and economic needs of communities.