Building an innovative Management Plan for the Green Areas and Biodiversity in the municipality of Brescia

  • Nature Governance
  • Comune di Brescia
  • Italy
  • 2022-2024

Cities are among the places most likely to experience the effects of climate change: phenomena such as heat islands or urban flooding are becoming increasingly common and part of daily life. The so-called nature-based solutions, such as urban forests, buffer zones in river areas and natural drainage systems, represent a possible way of addressing these challenges. This is the reason why, valuing the services provided by nature and generally not considered in financial analyses (i.e., ecosystem services) is fundamental to promote such solutions. 

As public authorities and democratically elected governments, municipalities are directly responsible for the health and safety of their inhabitants, as well as for providing guidelines and action for climate change adaptation in cities. Brescia, as one of the Italian cities pioneering the implementation of the European directives for the green transition, is developing several strategic plans to achieve ambitious climate objectives in line with the current social challenges and priorities defined at the European level. Among these, beyond the Climate Transition Strategy, there is also the Green Areas and Biodiversity Management Plan of Brescia. This plan aims to lead the medium and long-term of the public green areas management (also with respect to climate change issues), as well as to communicate the value generated by the city’s natural capital to citizens and society at large. 

The project

The plan will include, among others, a quantitative and economic valuation of the ecosystem services provided by the urban green areas of Brescia, in which Etifor will play a leading role. The document will also include the development of desired nature-based solutions scenarios and concrete lines of action to guide future budgets and decisions that allow a cost-efficient implementation of measures that increase ecosystem services, such as temperature regulation and flood prevention.

The Green Areas and Biodiversity Management Plan of Brescia will allow planning actions on the green areas of the municipality, with climate change mitigation and adaptation as one of its main objectives. This project is being carried out by a working group coordinated by ERSAF and participated by the urban planning firm Studio Gioia Gibelli, the Municipality of Brescia itself, and Etifor.

Our contribution

Etifor will be responsible for estimating the baseline of the ecosystem services provided by the city’s green areas and then simulate different scenarios implementing several nature-based solutions to estimate the benefits these measures can have on the city’s ecosystem services costs and their associated costs.

Through different economic techniques, such as market values and cost-based methodologies, and a combination of GIS and modeling software, the ecosystem services to be estimated include:

  • Carbon sequestration
  • Removal of atmospheric pollutants
  • Oxygen production
  • Habitat quality
  • Flood-risk mitigation
  • Temperature regulation