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The Benefits of Natural Asset Management for Capital Planning and Climate Resiliency

Updated: May 25




Natural Asset Management (NAM) is becoming increasingly important for cities aiming to enhance their climate resiliency and ensure sustainable urban development. By integrating natural assets into capital planning, cities can maintain high levels of service while fostering environmental sustainability. Here’s why NAM is crucial and how it can transform urban planning.


Importance of Natural Asset Management


1. Enhancing Climate Resiliency Natural assets like wetlands, forests, and green spaces play a vital role in mitigating the impacts of climate change. They provide essential ecosystem services such as flood control, temperature regulation, and air quality improvement. Managing these assets effectively ensures cities can better withstand climate-related challenges.


2. Cost-Effective Infrastructure Solutions Investing in natural assets can be more cost-effective than relying solely on engineered solutions. Natural assets often require less maintenance and can provide perpetual services, reducing long-term infrastructure costs. For example, a well-maintained wetland can offer stormwater management services at a fraction of the cost of a constructed drainage system.


3. Improving Service Levels Natural assets contribute to higher levels of urban services. Trees and green spaces enhance urban aesthetics, promote mental health, and improve biodiversity. Effective management of these assets ensures they remain healthy and continue to provide these benefits to urban communities.


Why Capital Planning Needs Natural Asset Management


1. Comprehensive Planning Integrating natural assets into capital planning allows cities to take a holistic approach to infrastructure development. It ensures that natural and engineered assets work together to provide optimal services. This comprehensive planning is essential for creating resilient and sustainable urban environments.


2. Prioritizing Investments Natural Asset Management helps cities prioritize investments by identifying the most valuable natural assets and focusing resources on their maintenance and enhancement. This prioritization ensures that funds are used efficiently to achieve the greatest impact on urban sustainability and resiliency.


3. Long-Term Sustainability Including natural assets in financial planning promotes long-term sustainability. Unlike many engineered assets that depreciate over time, natural assets can appreciate in value with proper management. This appreciation supports the long-term viability of urban infrastructure and services.


Addressing Neglect and Moving Forward


Historically, natural assets have been overlooked in urban planning. However, the growing recognition of their importance is changing this perspective. The Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI) has been instrumental in bringing NAM to the forefront of urban planning. By providing tools, resources, and support, MNAI helps municipalities incorporate natural assets into their asset management programs, ensuring cities can reap the benefits of these valuable resources.


Conclusion


Natural Asset Management is essential for creating climate-resilient cities that can sustainably manage their resources and infrastructure. By incorporating natural assets into capital planning, cities can enhance service levels, reduce costs, and ensure long-term sustainability. As NAM gains traction, it promises to transform urban planning and contribute significantly to building resilient, livable cities.


At Novion, we specialize in helping cities manage their natural assets through advanced asset management platforms and environmental monitoring services.


Our solutions support urban planners, engineers, and researchers in making data-driven decisions to optimize natural asset management and enhance climate resiliency.


Contact us today to learn how we can help your city harness the power of natural assets for a sustainable future.

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