Cities go back to nature to tackle climate challenges

Cities need to develop inclusive, smart and sustainable solutions to climate and water-related challenges. Using nature to solve these challenges can bring multiple benefits. The EU-funded Urban Nature Labs (UNALAB) project is taking a citizen-driven approach to developing innovative, nature-based solutions in different urban environments.

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 11 February 2019  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
EnergyRational energy use
EnvironmentBiodiversity  |  Climate & global change  |  Sustainable development  |  Urban living
Innovation
International cooperation
Research policyHorizon 2020
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Argentina  |  Belgium  |  China  |  Czechia  |  Finland  |  France  |  Germany  |  Italy  |  Netherlands  |  Norway  |  Portugal  |  Spain  |  Sweden  |  Turkey
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Cities go back to nature to tackle climate challenges

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© Drazen #206989599, 2019 source:stock.adobe.com

Together, climate change and urbanisation are currently creating a range of challenges, including floods, air pollution and heat stress in our cities. By 2050, it is forecast that Europe’s cities will see 36 million new citizens. The Urban Nature Labs (UNALAB) project brings cities together to tackle these challenges and better prepare for the future.

The UNALAB team is focusing on nature-based solutions to address multiple urban climatic, environmental and social challenges simultaneously. Examples of solutions that are inspired by, supported by or copied from nature include natural water-retention ponds, green roofs and façades on buildings, and green spaces like parks and tree-lined streets.

These nature-based innovations provide many environmental benefits such as reducing air pollution, cooling buildings and infrastructure, and cutting energy needs. They also create additional sustainable benefits by contributing to citizens’ well-being and health, enhancing biodiversity and protecting ecosystems.

During the project, the UNALAB team will gather and assess evidence of these benefits. Furthermore, innovations such as these will support the creation of new jobs through new business opportunities, products and services.

Three cities – Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Tampere in Finland and Genova in Italy – will implement ‘living lab’ demonstration areas. Each city will work with stakeholders and end-users in their communities to create nature-based solutions to identified climate and water-related challenges. To support the local decision-making process, UNALAB has developed a simulation tool that assesses the impacts of different nature-based options.

Feedback from these three demonstration cities will be used to create a user-friendly toolbox that can guide cities across Europe towards developing and implementing their own inclusive, nature-based solutions. The Urban Nature Labs project, which involves 29 partners across 12 European countries, will also provide a framework for upscaling the solutions in the three demo cities, as well as replicating them in seven other cities both within and outside Europe. .

Project details

  • Project acronym: UNALAB
  • Participants: Finland (Coordinator), Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Norway, Spain, France, Czechia, Turkey, Belgium, Poland, Sweden, China, Argentina
  • Project N°: 730052
  • Total costs: € 14 278 699
  • EU contribution: € 12 768 931
  • Duration: June 2017 to May 2022

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