CLEARING HOUSE - Collaborative Learning in Research, Information-sharing and Governance on How Urban forests as nature-based solutions support Sino-European urban futures
The importance of forests and the benefits of single trees in the cities are still too vaguely understood by the urban inhabitants, students and teachers alike. We hope the compilation of this material lowers the threshold to make trees and forests part of your teaching, across subject lines. It is of utmost important to help the students of today recognize the importance of trees in our immediate living sphere. We invite you to teach your students about urban trees and forests in a manner that allows them the easy integration and application of the learnt material, and finally, inspires your students to notice, value and protect the urban trees and forests now and in the future for the health of our planet. http://clearinghouseproject.eu/city-of-trees/
This report describes the results and outcomes of the activities planned for the first call for innovative knowledge of planning and managing UF-NBS for urban ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 1st call and related activities were postponed to a later stage of the project.
This report summarizes the results of the Sino-European co-design event, which was organized as part of Task 3.1 in the CLEARING HOUSE project. The event took place virtually in two parts, on June 14th and June 25th, 2021, and was organized by CAF-RIF and EFI, with the support of LGI. The events brought together cities, policymakers, civil society and scientists from all selected case studies and relevant continental organisations in Europe and China. It had two main objectives. Part one sought to identify the most critical questions to be analysed in the comparative case study analysis (T2.2). Meanwhile part two focused on defining the requirements for the tools and actions to be developed during WP4 and WP5, so that the implementation of CLEARING HOUSE can respond to multiple stakeholders' needs in the best possible manner. The core outcomes of these events, which are documented in this co-design report, will be decisive to inform the analytical framework for the case study analysis.
- Yole Debellis
- Sebastian Scheuer
- Rik De Vreese
- Raffaele Lafortezza
Deliverable 1.2 is intended to be a guide, a structured interpretation and evaluation of the current knowledge used to collate evidence on intended outcomes and unintended impacts of UF-NBS for urban ecosystem regeneration and human wellbeing. The information reported herein is based on the compilation of a reference-recorded knowledge repository of UF-NBS and their impacts on urban liveability, public health, halting biodiversity loss and re-diversifying UF-NBS structures to enhance urban resilience; specifically, Task 1.2 - Reviewing the knowledge on the importance of UF-NBS for resilient cities - and M1.3 - the Repository on UF-NBS for resilient cities in China and Europe. Sections 2 and 3 of deliverable D1.2a are intended to provide a review of current UF-NBS practices in Europe and China. The in-depth coverage of these UF-NBS case studies is further expanded in Appendix 1 by reviewing the grey literature, i.e. the project and official reports, planning strategies, as well as scientific publications that span the territory of EU Member States and China. This documentation highlights the main goals and methodologies used in UF-NBS research and implementation, policy implications and NBS typology and functions, i.e., ecosystem services, within the frame of Task 1.2, as well as case history templates (Task 1.4). In Section 4, a comparative analysis of case histories provides conclusive insights into common or contrasting aspects in and between these two continents. Final considerations drawn from the comparative analysis of the intended outcomes of UF-NBS implementation include lessons that can be learned and existing knowledge gaps. In Section 5, a Sino-European analysis, in the form of a modelling exercise, was conducted of the selected case histories to explore shared themes, such as connectivity, multifunctionality and social cohesion, and macro-categories (i.e., ecological, engineering, social and economic macro-categories) for urban regeneration and renaturing. The second part, D1.2b, presents a review of the existing knowledge on UF-NBS through a compiled knowledge repository of cases from the academic literature as provided by both Europe and China. This repository offers a more comprehensive understanding of the overarching goal the overall document aims for, as well as its specific objectives, and to help satisfy the need for inquiring on the multitude of aspects that are inherent to UF-NBS and their strategic role in planning, implementation and as a response to address today’s climate change, economic and social crises. In light of the aforementioned objectives, D1.2 can be considered a valid and comprehensive aide to a variety of audiences. These include, but are not limited to, educational and scientific research institutions, NGOs, environmental planners and enthusiasts, and lastly, government authorities who are expected to devote more importance, time, and budgets to green space management and allow for greater place-based involvement.
The COVID-19 pandemic has strongly impacted our society, producing drastic changes in people’s routines and daily mobility, and putting public spaces under a new light. This paper starts with the premise that the use of urban forests and green spaces - where and for who they were available and accessible - increased, when social restrictions were most stringent. It takes an explorative approach to examine changes in attitude towards urban forests and urban green spaces in terms of attraction (i.e., as the actual use behaviour), intended use (i.e., intention of going to green spaces), and civic engagement in relation to green spaces. In particular, it analyses the responses to a survey of 1,987 respondents in Belgium and statistically examines the relationship between sociodemographic characteristics, urbanisation characteristics, actual and intended green space use, and changes in attitudes towards green spaces and civic engagement. The findings show that highly educated citizens experienced an increase in actual and intended use of green spaces during the pandemic, but that this increase differs among sociodemographic profiles such as impact of age or access to private green, and depends on their local built environment characteristics. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has strongly impacted citizens’ attitudes, as well as (intended) behaviour and civil engagement with respect to the green spaces in their area.
The COVID 19 pandemic is transforming our society. All the basic elements of living together have radically changed in the past weeks: Where and how we work, whom we spend time with, whom we care about, what tasks and activities keep us busy. During the lockdown those that can, have been flocking into green spaces and urban forests for physical exercise and mental calming. At least this applies to those who are not locked down totally. Recent charts by Google, for instance, show an impressive increase of mobility toward places like national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas, and public gardens, amidst a general fall in mobility trends (e.g. the case of Germany). Isolation and prevention measures are putting the critical importance to society of urban green spaces in a completely new light, intensifying existing dynamics and creating new ones. Discussions are underway about the quantity and type of urban greenspace needed, social equity and access for the least financially able, ratio of space to population; but also about their function as a social space, their role in gentrification and the relationship between open space and health services… Trees in particular are showing their full potential in improving our lives as individuals and societies. The many services they offer to natural ecosystems and society were proven long before the pandemic exploded (e.g. regulate temperature and provide shade, filter air pollutants, sequester carbon, manage and filter rainwater, stabilize soils & maintain soil health, provide food and shelter for living organisms, improve mental, physical, and well-being, improve recreation and aesthetics…). During the pandemic, this became ever more visible: trees are key amenities and a source of enjoyment during locked-in routines; they contribute in preserving and improving people’s mental and physical health; and people of all ages and conditions hold on to them as an actual lifeboat for carrying on. In these challenging times, green spaces have become an image of inequalities and injustice that characterize our societies and cities. To begin with, not everybody looks at public green spaces and forestry the same way – it is not only a question of availability of green space in the neighbourhood but also one of each individual living situation. Rooftop apartments, with a lot of insolation or with green views are the top winners during the ordered pandemic home rests. Vis-a-vis the #stayathome imperative, the need of the healing potential of trees becomes particularly pronounced for people whose home is small, overcrowded or insalubrious; people who do not have their own garden; people who have a flat without a balcony; people who have a flat on the ground floor with a limited view outside and lack of direct sunlight; people with specific needs for outdoor physical activity or for people requiring a break from the stay-at-home routine. Secondly, not everybody has (visual or physical) access to the same amount and quality of public green spaces, with the geography of green spaces often reflecting and reproducing patterns of socio-economic disparity, resulting in environmental injustice: What is probably most worrying is the fact that those who today find themselves in the greatest need for green spaces are the ones that face the greatest deprivation in a multiple sense: low income, children, elderly, disabled, etc. More so, as “social distancing” measures were seemingly not respected in green spaces, many governments have been locking down parks and other accessible greenspaces. Examples of places where green spaces were closed include Vienna’s city centre, where most public parks are fenced and now completely locked, and Spain or Italy where going into parks was prohibited, because it was not considered a necessary activity. In Belgium, where forests are few and far between, only some people are allowed to travel to a forest by car (e.g. parents of children of 5-year or younger, people with lower mobility due to age or handicap). All others have to find their green spaces within a walking or biking distance. Furthermore, the greenspace visits are meant only for movement – stopping to sit on a bench by the side of the road has been banned for most people. Such policies are clearly socially divisive, possibly favouring those with access to private green such as gardens or those living in nearby rural environs whilst creating disadvantages to people who live in high rise apartments often in ‘hard urban’ areas and who already suffer from multiple deprivation. If we look at the future, amidst the legitimate worries about what needs to be done and how to deal with the social and health emergency, we need to start thinking about reconstruction: Greenspaces and urban forests will have to play a key role in the debate about how we want to, as society, return to “normal” life and how we want to ensure that urban green spaces are accessible for everyone. The corona pandemic, with all its drawbacks, could also be the starting point for a much-needed debate on a social contract about the future role of green spaces where we live and work…
This document represents the CLEARING HOUSE screening tool (D1.5). The screening tool encompasses analytical questions for the guidance of the exploratory case study analysis for T2.1 in the 10 case study cities and regions in China and Europe and identifies responsibilities. The screening tool includes questions on the locality of the case study areas, geography of urban forests in the case studies, governance of urban forests as nature-based solutions (UF-NBS), and strategic objectives in relation to UF-NBS in the cases
- Clive Davies
- Raffaele Lafortezza
- Yole Debellis
- Jose Bolanos
This document (M1.6) describes the methodology for analysing governance, institutional and economic frameworks for Urban Forests as Nature-Based Solutions (UF-NBS) in European and Chinese cities. It is focused on multi-level and networked governance dynamics in relation to urban development and contextual differences concerning UF-NBS between countries, cities and regions in China and Europe. The analysis will result in a report on governance, institutional and economic frameworks in respect of UF-NBS in China and Europe that summarises key findings and provides an overview of comparative perspectives (Deliverable [D]1.4).
This document describes the envisaged approach for identifying and mapping of cases and projects of urban forests as nature-based solutions (UF-NBS) in European and Chinese cities, and the methodology for developing a typology of UF-NBS.