TAKING

COOPERATION

FORWARD

Project name ALL-GREEN CITIES - Cities' green management, to contrast harmful species (alien, allergenic) with a new concept based on species biological traits
Objective Objective 3.3
Priority Natural and cultural resources
Aim Climate change and invasive alien species (IAS) are today well recognized as global issues that require international cooperation and actions. Preventing international movement of IAS and their rapid detection are less costly than control and eradication. Prevention requires collaboration among Public Administrations, economic sectors, non-governmental organizations and associations.
The impact of invasive alien species is more easily recognized when it affects human health. Many species are known to pose a direct health threat: a well known example is the Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) a powerful allergenic north american species which is rapidly spreading in Europe.
Moreover the effect of climate change has to be taken into account, as not only it can affect decisively ecological and physiological characteristics of species, leading to a major risk of acclimatization and expansion of potentially harmful new entities, but also it can cause the extension of the duration and intensity of native allergenic species pollen diffusion. A fitting example is Pellitory of the Walls (Parietaria judaica L.) a native species well scattered in Europe and especially affecting urban population with an increasing potential to spread because of climatic change.
Cities, in particular, are known “to be outstanding points of entry as well as foci for the secondary release of introduced species, with trade, traffic and horticulture as most prominent dispersal pathways” (Kowarik, 2010).
On the other hand, even according to “The Health 2020 policy” is particularly important to control unpleasant and harmful species with respect of environment and with no use of pesticides even in urban and peri-urban contexts.

To face these challenges the project is aimed to find out a new idea of green urban spaces, developing a strategy for both health and biodiversity conservation. The objective is to share “Greening Guidelines for Cities” contrasting in particular alien and native allergenic species, developing a new management concept, based on species biological traits, often modified by climate change.
The goal should be developed through cooperation between partners in specific sectors and in different European biogeographic regions: horticulture and floriculture professionals, botanists, allergists, representatives of Public Administrations but also private associations of allergic patients and citizens wanting to preserve environment and health in their gardens.

Specific objectives are:
• adopting new green management models, based on ecological traits of urban flora and using eco-friendly technologies and weeding processes, to adapt to a changing climate;
• compiling an updated database of urban plant species with special respect to alien and allergenic ones, in order to classify them in a black list (high impact) or a watch list (moderate or unknown impact) system;
• finding out and fighting both assessed and new pollen allergies caused by alien species in urban green areas, above all in “sensitive” sites (hospitals, school gardens, parks, etc.) to improve human well-being;
• develop a web-based platform and connected application for monitoring allergies and to exchange information with citizens, local green managers and allergists;
• improving urban green areas and roads from an aesthetic point of view, with low costs, testing to spread fitted, agreeable and not allergenic species which require limited management. The aim is , to make them take up portions of ecological niche of the undesirable urban weeds, reducing their amount of space;
• involving different stakeholders (Public Authorities, technicians, university researchers, medical authorities, associations and citizens) in order to develop a common strategy for urban green areas management, reducing costs from the health, environmental and economic point of view;
• sensitizing, educating and involving citizens and local stakeholders to promote the biodiversity in the city.
Results The fulfillment of the project will likely:
improve citizens health,
prevent respiratory allergy and improve the quality of life of patients with pollen allergy, reducing the economic burden of rhinitis and asthma (lost of productivity, physician visits, medical treatment, emergency admissions and hospitalization) on the National Healthcare System
develop an adaptive management for green areas in an urban context,
raise a new awareness about the link between environment and human well-being,
valorize urban ecosystems,
create a new perception of the plants in the cities so that they become part of it, and no more only weeds to reject.
Cost
Duration 36 months
Partners involved Municipality of Genoa, University of Genoa - DISTAV (Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra dell'Ambiente e della Vita - Environment and Earth Sciences Department), AMIU SpA, ASTER SpA, Allergists and allergic patients Associations.
Partners requested We are looking for partners such as municipalities, scientific organisms or associations, from central European countries that would implement this project idea in their urban areas. Partners are welcomed from all CENTRAL Europe countries.
Benefit
Innovation The Project pursues a new idea of green urban planning, developing a shared strategy for health at transnational level, based on biological and eco-friendly management concepts in the cities.
Follow up of
Follow up fundings