9 April 2019

How urban partnerships can drive nature-based innovation

For the past three years, ICLEI has been coordinating Urban-Regional Innovation Partnerships, or URIPs, as part of the NATURVATION project that aims to create a step-change in how nature-based solutions are understood and used for sustainable urbanisation.

These collaborative processes in six European cities – ICLEI Members Barcelona (Spain), Utrecht (The Netherlands) and Malmö (Sweden), as well as Leipzig (Germany), Győr (Hungary) and Newcastle (United Kingdom) – are convened by local authorities and researchers, and bring together strategic urban governance actors to share knowledge stemming from research, policies, and practice.

Each city conducted deep mapping of their local contexts in 2017. Throughout 2018, the URIPs developed visions for how nature-based solutions can contribute to their local sustainability challenges, and sought to put these into practice through roadmaps, and by identifying windows of opportunity and effective forms of intervention.

The URIPs have also been co-developing cutting-edge tools as part of the project. These include:

  • The Urban Nature Atlas, the world’s largest database of nature-based solutions with over 1,000 cases worldwide
  • The Urban Nature Index to evaluate nature-based solutions projects and identify how they contribute to sustainability goals

During the URIP process, local platforms have engaged with the topics most relevant to their local circumstances. Some examples include:

  • Barcelona explored environmental justice, human health/well-being, (urban) nature and public health, and social inclusion
  • Utrecht delved into climate adaptation, biodiversity, and densification to achieve a dense and green city
  • Newcastle dug deeper into water management, flood risk, health, land use, and urban regeneration

And there is much more to come!

This year, the URIPs will be in the spotlight throughout a week of global workshops, forums and conferences in Bonn (Germany), where they will share their experiences and support other cities to integrate nature-based solutions into their plans and policies. The key moment will be a peer-to-peer learning workshop for over 20 European local governments.

In the autumn, the URIPs will be hosting Community Events, to share their work with the broader public and encourage citizens across Europe to support urban nature.

The NATURVATION Urban-Regional Innovation Partnerships have grown into a vibrant community of practice to explore and co-create nature-based solutions across Europe.

Collectively, they are helping to limit the impacts of climate change, enhance biodiversity and improve environmental quality, while also contributing to economic activity and social well-being.

For more information, click here.