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Publication type: Article in scientific journal
Type of review: Peer review (publication)
Title: Nature-based units as building blocks for resource recovery systems in cities
Authors: van Hullebusch, Eric D.
Bani, Aida
Carvalho, Miguel
Cetecioglu, Zeynep
De Gusseme, Bart
Di Lonardo, Sara
Djolic, Maja
van Eekert, Miriam
Griessler Bulc, Tjasa
Haznedaroglu, Berat Z.
Istenic, Darja
Kisser, Johannes
Krzeminski, Pawel
Melita, Sanna
Pavlova, Dolja
Plaza, Elzbieta
Schoenborn, Andreas
Thomas, Geraldine
Vaccari, Mentore
Wirth, Maria
Hartl, Marco
Zeeman, Grietje
et. al: No
DOI: 10.3390/w13223153
Published in: Water
Volume(Issue): 13
Issue: 22
Page(s): 3153
Issue Date: Nov-2021
Publisher / Ed. Institution: MDPI
ISSN: 2073-4441
Language: English
Subjects: Circularity challenge; Nature-based solution; Supporting unit; Urban stream; Circular city
Subject (DDC): 363: Environmental and security problems
Abstract: Cities are producers of high quantities of secondary liquid and solid streams that are still poorly utilized within urban systems. In order to tackle this issue, there has been an ever-growing push for more efficient resource management and waste prevention in urban areas, following the concept of a circular economy. This review paper provides a characterization of urban solid and liquid resource flows (including water, nutrients, metals, potential energy, and organics), which pass through selected nature-based solutions (NBS) and supporting units (SU), expanding on that characterization through the study of existing cases. In particular, this paper presents the currently implemented NBS units for resource recovery, the applicable solid and liquid urban waste streams and the SU dedicated to increasing the quality and minimizing hazards of specific streams at the source level (e.g., concentrated fertilizers, disinfected recovered products). The recovery efficiency of systems, where NBS and SU are combined, operated at a micro- or meso-scale and applied at technology readiness levels higher than 5, is reviewed. The importance of collection and transport infrastructure, treatment and recovery technology, and (urban) agricultural or urban green reuse on the quantity and quality of input and output materials are discussed, also regarding the current main circularity and application challenges.
Further description: The study has been carried out under the COST Action CA17133 Circular City (implementing nature-based solutions for creating a resourceful circular city,, duration 22 October 2018–21 October 2022). COST Actions are funded within the EU Horizon 2020 Programme.
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): CC BY 4.0: Attribution 4.0 International
Departement: Life Sciences and Facility Management
Organisational Unit: Institute of Natural Resource Sciences (IUNR)
Appears in collections:Publikationen Life Sciences und Facility Management

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van Hullebusch, E. D., Bani, A., Carvalho, M., Cetecioglu, Z., De Gusseme, B., Di Lonardo, S., Djolic, M., van Eekert, M., Griessler Bulc, T., Haznedaroglu, B. Z., Istenic, D., Kisser, J., Krzeminski, P., Melita, S., Pavlova, D., Plaza, E., Schoenborn, A., Thomas, G., Vaccari, M., et al. (2021). Nature-based units as building blocks for resource recovery systems in cities. Water, 13(22), 3153.
van Hullebusch, E.D. et al. (2021) ‘Nature-based units as building blocks for resource recovery systems in cities’, Water, 13(22), p. 3153. Available at:
E. D. van Hullebusch et al., “Nature-based units as building blocks for resource recovery systems in cities,” Water, vol. 13, no. 22, p. 3153, Nov. 2021, doi: 10.3390/w13223153.
VAN HULLEBUSCH, Eric D., Aida BANI, Miguel CARVALHO, Zeynep CETECIOGLU, Bart DE GUSSEME, Sara DI LONARDO, Maja DJOLIC, Miriam VAN EEKERT, Tjasa GRIESSLER BULC, Berat Z. HAZNEDAROGLU, Darja ISTENIC, Johannes KISSER, Pawel KRZEMINSKI, Sanna MELITA, Dolja PAVLOVA, Elzbieta PLAZA, Andreas SCHOENBORN, Geraldine THOMAS, Mentore VACCARI, Maria WIRTH, Marco HARTL und Grietje ZEEMAN, 2021. Nature-based units as building blocks for resource recovery systems in cities. Water. November 2021. Bd. 13, Nr. 22, S. 3153. DOI 10.3390/w13223153
van Hullebusch, Eric D., Aida Bani, Miguel Carvalho, Zeynep Cetecioglu, Bart De Gusseme, Sara Di Lonardo, Maja Djolic, et al. 2021. “Nature-Based Units as Building Blocks for Resource Recovery Systems in Cities.” Water 13 (22): 3153.
van Hullebusch, Eric D., et al. “Nature-Based Units as Building Blocks for Resource Recovery Systems in Cities.” Water, vol. 13, no. 22, Nov. 2021, p. 3153,

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