In the ever-evolving urban landscapes of Central Europe (CE), cities grapple with common challenges. The expansion of urban sprawl has converted lush green spaces into concrete jungles, leaving urban areas vulnerable to extreme weather events, climate change impacts, urban heat islands, floods, air pollution, health issues, biodiversity loss, and escalating energy demands.
The GreenScape CE – Climate-proof landscape through renaturing urban areas in Central Europe project seeks to confront these pressing urban challenges by focusing on five CE urban areas – Milano Metropolitan Area (Italy), Ptuj (Slovenia), Szegedin (Hungary), Warsaw (Poland), and Zagreb (Croatia) – where the urban heat island effect exacerbates existing issues.
The primary mission of the GreenScape CE project is to integrate nature-based solutions (NBS) and green infrastructure (GI) into these urban environments, by using a multifaceted approach, involving peer-to-peer learning, transnational capacity building, and participatory decision-making. What sets GreenScape CE apart is its innovative blend of nature-based solutions with traditional grey infrastructure, which promises to enhance urban resilience significantly.
The results of this endeavour will benefit local governments and citizens alike. Knowledge exchange, multi-level governance reinforcement, tailored capacity building events, and the implementation of NBS pilot actions are all geared toward improving well-being and fostering social inclusion.
The success of GreenScape CE hinges on robust transnational cooperation. Twelve project partners from Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Slovenia will collaboratively promote structural collaboration between public authorities and stakeholders while building capacities for holistic and efficient GI planning. This transnational collaboration forms the backbone of our strategy. It offers a unique opportunity to share knowledge and ideas, ultimately mainstreaming climate resilience solutions across urban areas. It also provides a platform for mitigating disparities and enhancing the overall livability of CE cities.
Work Package 1 – Sowing the Seeds
The first Work Package is dedicated to supporting local governments in participatory planning and developing action plans related to NBS implementation in CE countries. These action plans will pave the way for pilot actions in five countries. The aim of the project is to create smooth communication channels with pilot areas and associated cities. Also, another critical goal is to raise awareness among local communities, including citizens, NGOs, and SMEs in CE countries, regarding the myriad benefits of NBS and GI.
The delivery of these objectives will be realised through a series of strategic steps, including classifying and describing NBS types, identifying criteria for planning NBS interventions, conducting a gap analysis of barriers and opportunities, organising launch events, developing an online GreenScape CE Visual Mapping Platform (GVMP), and providing guidelines for using visual mapping in the planning of NBS and GI.
Additionally, the project will facilitate multi-stakeholder engagement, train the trainers in the coordination of participatory workshops, organise NBS hackathon-style events, and develop a joint strategy for strengthening NBS implementation in CE. Action plans for NBS/GI implementation in pilot areas will also be created, and their promotion will be actively pursued through local events and communication materials.
In essence, GreenScape CE is set to transform CE urban areas into resilient, sustainable, and livable spaces by integrating nature-based solutions, fostering cooperation, and raising awareness among communities and stakeholders.