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Advancing the quality of life and the environment of European cities through socially-inclusive planning, design and management of urban woodlands

Woodlands in, and close to, urban areas provide a wide range of social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits to society. As large parts of Europe have become highly urbanised, the importance of these woodlands continues to grow. However, their full potential is often not met for various reasons, including the lack of sufficient woodland resources to meet society's recreational and other demands, and the wide range of urban pressures. This problem has a strong European dimension, as the main issues in urban forestry are rather similar across the continent. The aim of the proposed urban forestry project is to develop a sustainable approach to urban woodland conservation, management and development. In close collaboration with local stakeholders, a toolbox that supports urban woodland planning, design and management will be developed and tested in six cities in different parts of Europe.

The main development objective is to develop tools to enhance the planning, design and prospective management of urban woodlands, applicable to the diversity of European contexts and inclusive of all the stakeholders, so that the contribution such woodlands can make to the quality of urban life and the urban environment is improved.

The immediate research and development objectives are:
1) to develop a common theoretical and methodological framework for the study and its case study approach
2) to identify and analyse the best practices in current planning, design, information provision and decision-support, public education and involvement, and linking the planning, design and management of urban woodlands in Europe
3) to develop and test a set of tools for the participatory, well-informed planning and design of urban woodlands, which link the strategic aspects with the tactical and operational features of management
4) To distribute these tools among urban woodland scientists, practitioners and other stakeholders, and consequently to contribute to the formulation of local, national and European urban woodland policies and plans.

Progress to Date
A common theoretical and methodological framework for the study has been developed.
Best practices in current planning, design, information provision and decision-support, public education and involvement, have been identified and analysed.
Promising practices have been identified, which were being applied in the six case studies in various European cities during 2003.

The general approach taken in the NeighbourWoods case studies was for scientists to develop and implement tools for enhancing the planning, design and prospective management of urban woodlands. An important aspect of these tools was the involvement of experts (from interest groups, administration, etc.) and the public at large. The tool-testing results were then discussed with local forest policy decision-makers.
The different tools have been classified based on their level of participation. The first group of tools is based on Information provision (e.g. newsletters, public events). The second group comprises tools based on Information collection (e.g. social survey, botanical surveys).
The third group of tools has a higher degree of participation and is grouped under the title Involvement of experts and the public at large. Involving the general public increases the image of a project, and can gather a wide variety of opinions and suggestions to improve plans concerning the project.
The final group of tools, grouped under processing and use of information, combine, on the one hand, information, both human and environmental, and on the other, serve as an output, on their own, to be used by the decision-makers while planning, designing and managing the project.

Classified in FORESTRY

Scientist responsible for the project

Hoersholm Kongevej 11
DK-2970 Hoersholm
Denmark - DK

Phone: +45 45763200
Fax: +45 46763233


Project ID QLRT-2000-00165
Organisation Danish Forest and Landscape Research Institute
Area 5.3.1
Start date 01 July 2001
Duration (months) 40
Total cost 1 701 573 €
Total EC contribution   1 219 885 €
Status Completed

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