Cities are central to India's economic growth. By 2030 they will generate 70 percent of net new jobs, and produce more than 70 percent of GDP.
But 70 percent of cities are already vulnerable to climate change. On one hand, the potential financial damage from extreme events, heat, and drought will be staggering. The urban poor in particular will bear much of the burden.
On the other hand, cities also hold the key to altering this trajectory. Because so much of the new development (much of it greenfield) will occur in and around existing urban areas, how we imagine and plan cities will be crucial to determining the future of our planet.
Green spaces, trees, and natural resources are some of the most visible metrics of climate resilience. They are critical to low carbon development, they mitigate the impacts of climate change and also provide co-benefits in the form of other critical ecosystem services. Unfortunately, the metrics are going in the wrong direction. Indian cities have witnessed a steep decline in their green cover and natural resources leading to polluted and resource scare urban environments.
Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are products and systems that work with nature to help address societal challenges. The concept is grounded in the knowledge that healthy natural and managed ecosystems produce a diverse range of services on which human well being depends.
In contrast with many engineered solutions, NbS have the potential to tackle both climate mitigation and adaptation challenges at relatively low-cost while delivering multiple co-benefits for people and nature.
We take a systemic lens, and use nature-based solutions to create interventions across multiple dimensions, re-envisioning underutilized spaces, and poorly managed natural resources. Through this aggregation on both supply and demand side, we believe we can improve the quality of life for the first mile