Cities around the world are undergoing significant transformations and are facing substantial challenges in the form of urban densification and extreme weather conditions, due to climate change and the ongoing urbanisation. Nature-based solutions (NBS) present an approach to address urban challenges through working with nature, in order to achieve ecological and resilience objectives, while creating opportunities for social and economic innovation concurrently.
The UNaLab consortium is comprised of 28 partners from 10 cities across Europe and beyond, including municipalities, research, business and industry. The UNaLab partner cities commit to addressing climate and water related challenges within an innovative and citizen-driven paradigm. The UNaLab cities aim to develop smarter, more inclusive, more resilient and increasingly sustainable societies through innovative nature-based solutions.
UNaLab's three demonstration cities, Tampere, Eindhoven and Genova, will implement urban living lab demonstration areas within the cities. They will address identified urban climate and water related challenges by co-creating nature-based solutions with local stakeholders and end users, using an innovative systemic decision support tool. The project aims at using the feedback from the urban living lab demonstration areas to create a widely applicable toolbox consisting of user-friendly handbooks, models and instruments to guide cities across Europe in developing and implementing their own co-creative nature-based solutions.
The UNaLab project sets out to provide a framework for future upscaling of nature-based solutions in the demonstration cities, as well as replicate the solutions in seven replication cities. The European replication cities Cannes, Prague, Başakşehir, Castellón and Stavanger, as well as the non-European replication cities Buenos Aires and Hong Kong, will therefore work in collaboration with the demonstration cities to develop individual NBS roadmaps in a co-creation approach. The city Guangzhou and the Network of Brazilian Intelligent Cities will serve as observers and actively learn from the European NBS approach, which will enable the creation of a global NBS marketplace.
Cities all over the world are today facing a broad range of challenges, such as floods, air pollution and heat stress, due to climate change and ongoing urbanisation. It is expected that Europe’s cities will have 36 million new urban citizens by 2050, which will only worsen the problems that our cities already face. So how do we tackle current challenges and prepare for the future?