Every day, local governments rely on advice from engineers, planners, landscape architects, accountants, specialized asset managers and others to manage infrastructure. But as global focus shifts to climate change adaptation and mitigation practices, how do these professionals learn about the links between nature-based solutions (NbS) and infrastructure to support natural infrastructure (NI)? This has only become more important as local governments and communities really see the role that healthy natural systems play in providing critical infrastructure for Canadians (pdf).
To explore this topic, the Adaptation Learning Network and the Resilience By Design lab led by Professor Robin Cox at Royal Roads University, worked with the Natural Assets Initiative (NAI) to develop recommendations to increase awareness and understanding of natural assets management (NAM) and NI. Through a structured NAM Challenge Dialogue process and expert guidance, they challenged educators and professionals familiar with the skills needed to develop NI and NAM, to consider what they think will work best.
The NAM Challenge Dialogue workshop was structured around three capacity-building focal areas: Starting Points, Leverage Points and Partnership Opportunities. Participants were challenged to respond to options for action through academic programming, training, and certifications. So, what’s the verdict? The following recommendations are based on themes identified by participants as a practical path to increase understanding and implementation of NI.