Working with nature and ensuring the sustainable use of land can pave the way towards a more resource efficient, competitive and greener economy, help stimulate new jobs and economic growth, and create compact, liveable and inclusive European cities for everyone. NBS offers tremendous opportunities to use urban land sustainably and strengthen community cohesion. However, NBS is a relatively new concept and knowledge amongst broad society as to what NBS is, is still quite limited. Raising awareness is a challenge for all EU Member States, as often the timescale and efforts necessary for sustainable innovation are underestimated by citizens and local authorities.
The language effect brings some obstacles, as the NBS concept is not yet understood and applied universally. Scientists recognize the need to simplify the language and pervade the numerous interest groups. To some extent, this leads to civil society having limited engagement in the sustainable use of land (SUL) and NBS initiatives and the knowledge of the positive effects they bring is not widely available. There also may be low appreciation and acceptance of the measures adopted for sustainable urban development amongst the general public. There is the recognised need for communicating the challenges of the use of land in urban and peri-urban areas. A particular focus on urban sprawl is requested because of the lack of awareness-raising activities regarding urban sprawl and its negative consequences and the need to evaluate the financial costs of it for private and public sectors. Indeed, so far, there has been no willingness to promote urban sprawl mitigation and the issues related to it, such as the hidden costs of it.
The Partnership has identified the following objectives to tackle the unequal knowledge distribution in the area of NBS:
- Mapping of the activities of the 7 lighthouse projects (European Commission SMART AND SUSTAINABLE CITIES, H2020-SCC-2016-2017) and identification of relevant activities beyond the individual projects;
- Simplifying language and recommendations for the different stakeholders by standardising the vocabulary.
- Improve cities’ communication strategies, by engaging existing organisations and media in disseminating knowledge and communicating the benefits of NBS in urban areas;
- Engage with European organisations in existing NBS related projects, events and advocacy platforms for addressing relevant target groups.
The action also proposes, additionally, to create and use of visual instruments to highlight the challenges urban sprawl causes and its real, though hidden, costs.
- Engage with the EU H2020 project cluster on NBS and integrate awareness raising and educational practices of the established SCC02 2016/2017 projects;
- Engage the scientific community on NBS with communication experts and high-skilled professionals to standardise the vocabulary on the topic; the creation of a booklet;
- Engage creative advertising companies which have already developed green communication strategies, and develop a social media campaign to target citizen groups (possibly during the European Green Week event);
- Engage a group of story-tellers on the European level (supranational level), train and prepare them for advocacy, communication and European leadership on NBS
- Sustainable Use of Land and Nature-Based Solutions Partnership full Draft Action Plan
- Draft Action 1: INCLUDING LAND TAKE IN IMPACT ASSESSMENT PROCEDURES
- Draft Action 2: FINANCING MODELS FOR BROWNFIELD DEVELOPMENT
- Draft Action 3: IDENTIFYING AND MANAGING UNDER-USED LAND
- Draft Action 4: INDICATORS OF LAND TAKE
- Draft Action 5: PROMOTING FUA COOPERATION AS A TOOL TO MITIGATE URBAN SPRAWL
- Draft Action 6: BETTER REGULATION TO BOOST NBS AT EUROPEAN, NATIONAL AND LOCAL LEVELS
- Draft Action 7.1: PREPARE AN NBS FUNDING GUIDE TO ASSIST CITIES IN ACCESSING FUNDING FOR NBS PROJECTS
- Draft Action 7.2: OVERCOMING THE BIAS FOR EXISTING SOLUTIONS THROUGH NBS FINANCIAL INCENTIVES MAINSTREAMING
- Draft Action 9: AGREEING ON COMMON TARGETS AND INDICATORS FOR NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS, URBAN GREEN STRUCTURE, BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN CITIES