Fostering a Green Recovery through Nature-based Solutions
The importance of urban green areas has gained increasing attention in recent weeks, providing a welcome refuge to many city dwellers in light of COVID19-induced lockdowns. For those without private gardens, natural areas such as parks, urban forests or riverbanks offer critical opportunities for relaxing and being physically active. These and the wider metal and physical health benefits generated from spending time in publicly accessible natural areas are well documented, but have won new importance in this crisis. However, urban nature is more than just a city's parks and squares.
As cities across Europe and the world emerge from lockdown, local governments are proposing strategies to "recover better", i.e. follow a sustainable path out of the public health and economic crisis. Proposed ideas include permanently reducing car traffic and promoting infrastructure for bikes and pedestrians, investing in climate change mitigation and adaptation, drastically reducing urban air pollution and increasing the amount of and accessibility to public urban green spaces. Urban nature-based solutions, or actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore ecosystems to address multiple societal challenges in parallel (IUCN), can become a powerful ally for cities trying to sustainably and cost-effectively achieve these goals.
We invite you to familiarise yourself with some of Ecologic Institute's recent and upcoming work on urban nature-based solutions:
- Expert workshop "Urban nature-based solutions in Germany – experiences, successes and future challenges": On 5 May 2020, the expert workshop took place online as part of the NATURVATION project. At this workshop, more than 60 experts from policy, administration, practice and research jointly discussed current challenges, need for action and options for a broader application of nature-based solutions in Germany. The recorded workshop, presentations and programme are available online.
- Addressing Climate Change in Cities – Catalogue of urban nature-based solutions: This catalogue presents a wide selection of nature-based solutions that exemplify high climate mitigation potential and applicability across a range of urban contexts. The publication is designed to support planners, designers and landscape architects in various sized urban areas in Europe and beyond in applying NBS instead of or alongside traditional approaches. At the same time, the publication is written in an accessible manner and can be used to introduce various audiences to the concept, applications and benefits of urban nature-based solutions. The publication is available in English and Polish.
- Urban Nature Atlas: The Urban Nature Atlas has collected evidence on 1000 NBS interventions from across Europe. With that, it provides the most comprehensive basis for the analysis of socio-economic and innovation patterns associated with urban NBS in Europe. Ecologic Institute was involved in the design and implementation of the database, which is intended to support research, policy and public relations.
- Key Barriers to and Factors for Improving the Successful Implementation of Nature-Based Solutions: This factsheet outlines the main barriers and success factors for successful implementation of NBS. The full length document "Barriers and success factors for effectively co-creating nature-based solutions for urban regeneration", upon which it is based, is available for download on the CLEVER Cities website.
- Gaps & opportunities to sustainable urban development through NBS implementation: The multifunctional character of NBS enables them to provide responses to both social and environmental challenges. Our analysis has shown that there is significant potential for NBS to help achieve sustainable urban development objectives. Nonetheless, challenges for mainstreaming NBS remain. While some of these can be addressed at the local level, others need to be addressed at the national and/or EU level with strong support from the international level. This policy brief summarizes these gaps and opportunities. The full report on which it is based can also be downloaded.
- Creating Green Cities – Podcast Announcement: In June, Ecologic Institute will premiere "Creating Green Cities" a podcast on NBS. The stories behind inspiring green initiatives are told through interviews with innovators, who used their ingenuity and passion to bring more nature to cities across Europe and address various urban challenges. The podcast is produced as part of the NATURVATION project. For premiere dates, look out for announcements on this newsletter and Ecologic Institute social media.