Potentials and pitfalls of mapping nature-based solutions with the online citizen science platform climatescan

Britta Restemeyer*, Floris C. Boogaard

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)
    80 Downloads (Pure)


    Online knowledge-sharing platforms could potentially contribute to an accelerated climate adaptation by promoting more green and blue spaces in urban areas. The implementation of small-scale nature-based solutions (NBS) such as bio(swales), green roofs, and green walls requires the involvement and enthusiasm of multiple stakeholders. This paper discusses how online citizen science platforms can stimulate stakeholder engagement and promote NBS, which is illustrated with the case of ClimateScan. Three main concerns related to online platforms are addressed: the period of relevance of the platform, the lack of knowledge about the inclusiveness and characteristics of the contributors, and the ability of sustaining a well-functioning community with limited resources. ClimateScan has adopted a “bottom–up” approach in which users have much freedom to create and update content. Within six years, this has resulted in an illustrated map with over 5000 NBS projects around the globe and an average of more than 100 visitors a day. However, points of concern are identified regarding the data quality and the aspect of community-building. Although the numbers of users are rising, only a few users have remained involved. Learning from these remaining top users and their motivations, we draw general lessons and make suggestions for stimulating long-term engagement on online knowledge-sharing platforms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number5
    Pages (from-to)1-17
    Number of pages17
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan-2021


    • Citizen science
    • Community-building
    • Nature-based solutions
    • Online climate adaptation platforms


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