Nature-based solutions (NBSs) are increasingly implemented to mitigate natural risks in urban and rural contexts, from coastal to mountainous areas. Nevertheless, the lack of quantitative approaches to assess NBSs’ effectiveness limits their technical, social and cultural acceptance. Within the PHUSICOS project (EU H2020 Innovation Action; Grant Agreement nr. 776681) a comprehensive assessment framework tool (AFT) has been developed to fill this gap. This paper presents an ex-post analysis with the PHUSICOS AFT applied to the Isar River case study. The restoration of the urban reach of the Isar River, in the city of Munich, was implemented in the early 2000s and represents a successful example of ecosystem and user-friendly flood risk management plan. The performance of the NBS measures implemented to manage the flood risk and improve the ecological status of the river (NBS scenario) is assessed in comparison with an alternative scenario with traditional hard engineering measures (grey scenario, GS). Results underscore the NBS as a competitive alternative. The ex-post analysis shows the potential of the PHUSICOS AFT for NBS performance assessment, providing guidance on indicator selection, stakeholders’ management and performance assessment. The application discussed here is expected to aid professionals and researchers involved in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of NBSs.

  • PHUSICOS project aims to assess the effectiveness of NBSs against natural hazard in rural and mountainous areas.

  • The proposed assessment framework tool allows evaluting the NBS features through a comprehensive approach.

  • The Isar River restoration is an effective case study to test the tool reliability.

  • The Living Lab can be intended as a fruitful tool to involve the stakeholders in the decision making.

This content is only available as a PDF.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY 4.0), which permits copying, adaptation and redistribution, provided the original work is properly cited (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).