Cities find natural solutions to global challenges
2 September 2019
People around the world are calling for governments to step up and take action on the global climate emergency. Creating conditions for social, ecological, and infrastructural resilience in the context of rapid urbanisation and a biodiversity extinction crisis is one of the key urban, and global, challenges of the 21st century. Where adaptation solutions can make cities more resilient to climate change, nature-based solutions can future-proof cities’ infrastructure, communities and local economy for the people who live there.
Within proGIreg, scientists, local governments, NGOs, businesses and local citizens are looking to nature-based solutions for new approaches to urban development. The plan is to create post-industrial areas that support ecosystems and biodiversity, improve quality of life and health overall, support sustainable local businesses that can replace outdated industries, and make for accessible urban systems that are flexible enough to include all sectors of society.
Green spaces can markedly improve quality of life by making the air cleaner, providing an area to meet others from the local community and to play sports. In Dortmund (Germany), local partners are working together to transform the area of the Deusenberg former landfill site, the vision being of an easily accessible community area with opportunities for activities such as mountain-biking, jogging and bird-watching. Meanwhile in Turin (Italy), the aim is to build a new green cycling path along the river Sangone, which will connect the banks of the river to the Turin metropolitan cycling network.
Bringing communities together through shared activities while increasing awareness of the importance of reducing pesticides and promoting pollinators in the local ecosystem, is a focus of Cascais (Portugal), which has developed an urban agriculture programme, which includes holding workshops for schools and the local community. The programme has been received favourably: “Community vegetable gardens, are really in demand from the local residents, who want to be in contact with nature,” said Teresa Ribeiro, Landscape Architect for the City of Cascais.
With more and more cities turning to nature-based solutions to tackle urban problems, there is a growing need for cooperation and the sharing of good practices and case studies. Some of the openly available resources on nature-based solutions for cities are listed on the proGIreg resources page.
Image: Francesco Gallarotti / Unsplash