Integrating Nature-based Solutions in the grey infrastructure of cities

  • Nature Governance
  • Interreg Central Europe Programme
  • ItalyCroatiaHungaryAustriaSloveniaPoland
  • 2023
urban green

The greening of urban areas has the potential to limit impacts of climate change and enhance biodiversity, all while contributing to economic activities and social well-being. To tackle the challenges imposed by the changing climate, local governments are looking into introducing nature back in the grey infrastructure and recognise Nature-based Solutions (NBS) and Green Infrastructure (GI) as an essential measure for improving their resilience to climate change and biodiversity conservation. The GreenScape CE project paves a way for integrating Nature-based Solutions (NBS) and green infrastructure (GI) in the grey infrastructure in 5 Central European (CE) urban areas, significantly affected by aggravating urban heat island effect: Milano Metropolitan Area, Ptuj, Szeged, Warsaw and Zagreb through peer-to-peer learning, transnational capacity building and participatory decision-making.

The problem

The incessant growth of urbanised areas in CE at the expense of green areas coupled with frequent heatwaves and meteorological extreme events is causing unwanted consequences, such as surplus mortality during summer months, lower air quality, urban heat island effects, urban floods and habitat fragmentation. These challenges also influence the social and economic fabric of urban areas by affecting the citizen’s health and quality of life, highlighting the need to engage citizens among other stakeholders in the governance structures and decision-making processes.

The project

The GreenScape CE project is committed to enable the wider uptake of NBS in pilot urban areas by enhancing policy learning and improving multilevel governance structures that will enable better collaboration between decision-makers and local communities. The consortium consists of 12 partner organisations from six CE countries (AT, HR, IT, PL, SI) and encompasses five pilot areas where NBS projects will be identified and the participatory decision making tested. The project is supported by INTERREG CE Programme, co-funded by the European Union and Italy.

Our contribution

Etifor is among the partners of the project, where it will be primarily responsible for the coordination and the supervision of the progress of WP2 “Bring about change: NBS/GI pilots”. Firstly, it will do so by providing an extensive overview of the funding mechanisms existing at the EU level and successfully implemented in urban areas. Secondly, it will lay the ground for the development of 3 joint solutions for NBG/GI implementation in the pilot areas. Etifor will also contribute to replication, exploitation and dissemination activities, especially in the Lombardy region, bridging the GreenScape CE project with the LIFE Gestire 2030 network, and enabling the engagement of regional and local authorities of nearby provinces of Como, Varese, Bergamo, around Milan metropolitan area. Its focus will be on making sure that NBS and GI will embed also biodiversity and other ecosystem services.