Nature-based innovation systems

Alexander P.N. van der Jagt, Rob Raven, Hade Dorst, Hens Runhaar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Transitions literature regards technologies as critical components in shifting systems towards sustainability, which has informed the development of the technology-oriented Technological Innovation System (TIS) framework. The emerging discourse on nature-based solutions (NBS) – multifunctional nature-integrated spatial planning and design innovations – raises the question to what extent TIS can account for the development and diffusion of NBS. Following a literature review, we present the Nature-Based Innovation System (NBIS) framework delineating critical factors for urban nature-based innovation. We find both commonalities and differences between TIS and NBIS, suggesting that the roles of place-based dynamics, agency and governance structure are more central to nature-based innovation, and market formation is more central to technological innovation. This has implications for the study of sustainability transitions, which has likely underplayed the potential of innovations at the nexus of socio-technical and socio-ecological systems. Future research is needed to refine the NBIS framework, for example by studying evolutionary developmental trajectories.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Innovation and Societal Transitions
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019


  • Environmental governance
  • Geography of transitions
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Sustainability transitions
  • Technological innovation systems
  • Urban development

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