Mega-Eco: Best practice for implementing large-scale nature-based solutions

Holman Africa Research and Engagement Fund

Richard Weller

School Affiliation: Weitzman School of Design
Secondary Investigator: Rob Levinthal, Ph.D. Candidate
Country or Region Engaged: Global
Fund: Holman Africa Research and Engagement Fund, China Research Engagement Fund, India Research Engagement Fund, Global Engagement Fund
Year Awarded: 2022-23
Expertise: Climate Change, Design, Environmental Science, Sustainability
Nature-based Solutions (NbS)—landscapes designed to increase the resilience of cities and provide ecosystem services—emerged from the World Bank in the early twenty-first century. The literature around NbS now calls for their rapid upscaling. However, large-scale projects already exist—for example, the Great Green Wall across Saharan Africa—but these types of projects are typically seen as single, and somewhat eccentric initiatives. Weller argues however that large scale nature-based solutions constitute an extension of the 20th century tradition of the megaproject but that to date they have not be studied as a group or organized into a taxonomy. His research therefore coins and defines a new term, "mega-eco projects," and develops a taxonomy of case studies to define it. The aim is to better understand mega-eco projects so that risks are limited, and best management practices encouraged.