Collaborative Thinking for Greener Cities

Background

In the current scenario facing Climate Change, cities must take action getting prepared for the environmental threats, increasing their adaptive resilience to the new circumstances, especially in the Mediterranean countries. Many European cities are starting to take actions to increase their resilience by improving the processes that let ecosystems function properly. This SDG Lab is focused on the urban green areas as providers of Ecosystem Services which are crucial for a better environment in the city, bringing together relevant stakeholders that can take decisions and actions towards an improved environment in the cities of Spain.

 

What is the problem/s you are trying to solve? How does it relate to the SDGs?

In the current scenario facing Climate Change, cities must take action getting prepared for the environmental threats that can happen such as an increased temperature, lower rainfall, extreme weather phenomena -among others. Therefore, increasing their resilience for getting adapted to the new circumstances, especially in the Mediterranean countries where the risks are higher in the European context.

All over Europe, many cities are starting to take actions to increase their resilience by improving the processes that let ecosystems function properly: water cycle, waste management, air quality, energy efficiency and green areas. This SDG Lab is focused on the latest, the urban green areas as providers of Ecosystem Services which are crucial for a better environment in the city (Per Bolund, Sven Hunhammar. Ecosystem services in urban areas. Ecological Economics 29 (1999) 293–301):

  • Air filtering
  • Micro-climate regulation
  • Noise reduction
  • Rainwater drainage
  • Sewage treatment
  • Recreational and cultural values
  • Increased biodiversity
To improve and increase those Services, it is important to strengthen the ecosystem processes that make them possible, by actions that help having healthier and thriving social-ecosystems in the urban areas.

Today we can see around the world several initiatives for the re-naturalization of cities with the aim of improving Ecosystem Services turning the urban environment into a more natural one, preserving and improving natural processes, learning from nature with Biomimicry to adapt our infrastructures for being integrated within a natural framework instead of going against it.

In Spain there are a few actions in the main cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Vitoria, Coruña, but yet they are not enough to face the more extreme weather that we are experiencing in the last years, specially very hot, dry and long summers. In the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in Spain urban ecosystems are key for modelling the ecosystems approach as a frame for action and discussion. http://www.ecomilenio.es/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Poster-ciudad-web.jpg

We see there is the urgent need of the cities to improve their environment and improve their situation related to water management, air pollution, noise and traffic, protection to heat and biodiversity loss.
This SDG Lab is intended to bring together relevant stakeholders that can take decisions and actions towards an improved environment in the cities: planning and environmental officers from city halls, researchers, innovative green technology companies, social and citizen organizations, media. Meeting for sharing knowledge, support, action and to find collaborative solutions for the current situations of the Spanish cities.
We believe this type of actions needs to bring together organizations from the public, private and third sector, through collaboration to meet systemic changes where everyone is involved.
The problem we are trying to solve relates to the following SDGs:

3. Good Health and Well-being
6. Clean Water and Sanitation
7. Affordable and Clean Energy
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
13. Climate Action
15. Life on Land
17. Partnerships for the Goals

 

Co-design process and the intended participants

The process will consist of a two-day workshop bringing together stakeholders from public institutions, private and third sector. Laboratorio de Socioecosistemas (Autonomous University of Madrid, UAM) and Altekio will bring our expertise from the Spanish National Ecosystem Assessment in Spain (www.ecomilenio.es) addressing Ecosystem Services analysis in multi-stakeholder processes. Altekio team has expertise as facilitators of multiple events and projects, especially in sustainability.

Institution/Organization
Altekio, S.Coop.Mad / Social-Ecological Systems Laboratory, Autonomous University of Madrid
Place
Madrid, Spain
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