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Having a park or garden right on your doorstep when living in a city is an advantage most property seekers are looking for. Such greens offer an improved life quality. They not only provide leisure or sports facilities but make the air cleaner, reduce urban noise and even improve the urban climate. Yet if they are not in a good shape they can easily turn into a burden and a constant “battlefield” between inhabitants and the responsible authorities.
Green belts, often spreading over a number of smaller settlements around big cities, are the “lungs” of these densely populated cities that can provide various environmental, social and economic benefits.
To achieve these benefits, however, traditional authority approaches are no longer enough and efficient. That is why the challenge of how these green spaces could be managed smartly through cooperation of inhabitants and various authorities will be in the focus of Urban Green Belts.
There is a common demand for better functioning operational models in central Europe, yet project partners on their own would not have the capabilities to develop a complex novel system. Through improving capacities of all actors via this joint work, management of urban green spaces will become more efficient and a more integrated part of environmental management systems. This will also lead to an enhanced biodiversity, improved air quality, less urban noise, more bearable urban heat waves and a generally improved quality of urban life.
Urban Green Belt partners from 7 countries will develop innovative methods and tools (based on applying green infrastructure, community involvement and multi-level governance concepts) leading to integrated models for managing urban green spaces smartly. How these novel solutions work will be tested jointly through pilot actions and compiled into a manual to serve as guidance on reforming green spaces management for any public authority in Europe for the benefit of inhabitants.
The Padua UGB team has been working on an upgrade of the software currently used to enable the acquisition of new datasets, as well as on a new set of indicators. The team is also developing a new app for private users that will enable the acquisition of data concerning privately owned green spaces.
Hegyvidék hosted its first meeting for residents participating in the ‘Green Space Stewardship’ programme. The event marked the beginning of our pilot’s community-building phase, which includes a series of events that will involve the public and district stewards involved in the project.
In July, the Witkowice GLL organised a picnic in the Witkowice forest, including a survey walk. This was the second in a series of consultations organised to meet the expressed needs of local citizens. The first included a survey of primary school pupils and an art competition titled ‘My Witkowice Forest’.
UGB pilot activities are well underway in Maribor, with high levels of public participation and involvement. So far, everybody agrees that parking in nature areas should be regulated. Several transport alternatives (as opposed to cars) for reaching these areas have also been suggested.
Multi-stakeholder governance pilots
Preparatory talks were held with various stakeholders of the ‘Tree Alley Renewal’ pilot, which aims to facilitate cooperation between actors responsible for urban forestry in our district. We are working with Szent István University to create a guideline document on climate-resilient trees.
Multi-stakeholder governance pilots
Our pilot actions aim to diversify the actors involved in UGS management by: creating the basis for a social programme to involve selected groups in the maintenance of therapeutic gardens, and in establishing grant programmes to support green funds for different communities.
Smart Governance Manual
Municipality of 12th District of Budapest (Hegyvidék)
Research Studios Austria – Studio iSPACE
Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Maribor Development Agency
The UGB project has 10 partners from 7 central European countries