The conference brought together scientist and policymakers from cities and member states from all over Europe to show the developments of nature based solutions at city level, and the potential of the use of spatially explicit data on this subject. To underpin this at the end of the day, several parties including municipalities, ministries and commercial companies, signed a City Deal to ensure that the values of green and blue are more explicitly taken into account with policy- and decision-making in urban challenges.
The day opened with a passionate speech of mr. Bart Krol, vice governor of the province of Utrecht. Mr. Krol emphasized the importance of green infrastructure in the city of Utrecht for it's economic development. A green and healthy city is good for attracting business and highly educated inhabitants. Following this mr. André vd Zande (director general of RIVM), and mr. Olaf Cornielje (deputy director of the sustainability department of IenM) discussed the relevance of green in the city, the national policies on this, and the relation with the circular economy.
Photo:The city of Utrecht, already integrating green and blue into the urban area.
Photo: Mr Delgado Rosa
Mr Delgado Rosa, the Director for Natural Capital in DG Environment, of the European Commission, discussed the connection between several policy areas including the EU Urban Agenda, the research agenda on Nature Based Solutions, circular economy, and the Biodiversity Strategy. He, among other lessons, shared the knowledge that increasing nature in the urban area stimulates social inclusion.
Several case studies show how natural capital can contribute to an attractive, green and sustainable city with a high quality of life, and how this can be implemented in the spatial planning of cities.
Photo: Mrs. Claudia Alzetta presenting the Padova, Italy, case study (L) and Robert de Graaff presenting the next step in urban development (R)
Photo: Joachim Maes of the Joint Research Centre, presented the conclusions and lessons learned.
The conference marked the release of the report on Urban Ecosystems, the 4th report on Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES). On behalf of the research group, Joachim Maes of the Joint Research Centre, presented the conclusions and lessons learned. The report will soon be published on this webpage.
After some actual food for thought, breakout sessions were facilitated. The sessions allowed participants to actively join the discussion on topics such as governance barriers, mapping and assessing at city level (with the QUICKscan software tool), the relevance of green infrastructure for health, circular economy and natural capital, improving decision support tools for nature based solutions in cities and innovative governance and finance for green urban infrastructure.
Photo: participants workshops
As the end of the day grew near, the conclusions of the breakout sessions were shared with everyone during a plenary session. Convinced of the need to apply nature based solutions in the urban area, the day concluded with the signing of a City Deal by a number of Dutch cities, ministries, knowledge institutes and private companies! There was a lot of interest to explore whether such a cooperation might be relevant at a European level. So… to be continued!
The presentations and a report of the conference will soon be published on this website.