• Barcelona


Cities and researchers in China and EU are experimenting with UF-NBS at different urban scales, from the regional, peri-urban to the street level. These efforts create a living laboratory for new ideas on how to plan, establish, govern, manage and monitor tree-rich landscapes for the benefit of urban societies at large.

At the same time, there is an urgent need to systematically review, connect and expand the existing fragmented knowledge and experience on the potential of UF-NBS. This need is the starting point for CLEARING HOUSE: bringing together two major arenas of urban development, Europe and China, the motivation is to learn across local experiences and to improve the development of what is collectively termed the “urban forest” at a larger scale.


This case study looks into the opportunity of the Llobregat river basin – the largest inland basin in Catalonia – as a nature-based solution to foster the ecological and social connectivity of the metropolitan area of Barcelona. Long exploited for agricultural and industrial uses, our partner AMB (Area Metropolitana de Barcelona) is currently carrying out many restoration actions to foster the environmental recovery of this river landscape. A special focus is set on enhancing and combining biodiversity recovery with the multiple social functions of green spaces such as the community’s need for recreational areas. 


Barcelona, Spain (metropolitan area)
636 KM²

How do rivers and trees foster ecological and social connectivity? Barcelona - CLEARING HOUSE

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Comparative Analysis

City pairings and specific UF-NBS challenges

Specific questions identified as critical will be addressed by the CLEARING HOUSE research team in a comparative setting. The city pairings and specific UF-NBS challenges will be further solidified in view of enabling the most insightful comparative analysis in response to the co-design process.


Afforestation and UF-NBS for river catchment restoration and delivery of green infrastructure strategies.

Old compact city with industrial hinterland; urban.