Holistic valuation of Nature-Based Solutions accounting for human perceptions and nature benefits

Martina Viti*, Roland Löwe, Hjalte J.D. Sørup, Jacob Ladenburg, Oliver Gebhardt, Signe Iversen, Ursula S. McKnight, Karsten Arnbjerg-Nielsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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When assessing strategies for implementing Nature-Based Solutions (NBS), it is paramount to identify and quantify all benefits for securing better, informed decisionmaking. Nevertheless, there appears to be a lack of primary data for linking the valuation of NBS sites with the preferences and attitudes of people interacting with them and their connection to supporting efforts to reduce biodiversity loss. This is a critical gap, as the socio-cultural context of NBS has been proven to play a big role in NBS valuation, especially for their non-tangible benefits (e.g. physical and psychological well-being, habitat enhancements, etc.). Consequently, through cocreation with the local government, we co-designed a contingent valuation (CV) survey to explore how the valuation of NBS sites may be shaped by their relationship with the users and the specific respondent and site characteristics. We applied this method to a case study of two distinct areas located in Aarhus, Denmark, with notable differences related to their attributes (e.g. size, location, time passed since construction). The esults obtained from 607 households in Aarhus Municipality show that the personal preferences of the respondent are the most relevant driver of value, surpassing both the perceptions linked to the physical features of the NBS and the socio-economic characteristics of the respondents. Specifically, the respondents attributing most importance to nature benefits were the ones assigning a higher value to the NBS and being willing to pay more for an improvement of the nature quality in the area. These findings highlight the relevance of applying a method assessing the interconnections between human perceptions and nature benefits to ensure a holistic valuation and purposeful design of NBS.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117498
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

This research was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under grant agreement No. 776866 for the RECONECT (Regenerating ECOsystems with Nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk rEduCTion) project.


  • Nature-based solutions
  • Willingness to pay
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Hydrometeorological risk
  • Holistic assessment


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