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Category: Urban Forestry

Green Care Hackathon 23.11 in Bonn

Waren Sie in diesem heißen Sommer auch so glücklich, im Stadtpark unter Bäumen auszuruhen? Haben Sie auch gemerkt, wie ruhig und zufrieden uns städtische Grünflächen und -Wälder machen kann – egal, ob wir dort Chillen, Joggen, oder mit Expert*innen etwas über die Wunder unserer Natur lernen?

Wir haben uns gefragt: Wie können wir noch mehr von den positiven Auswirkungen von Natur- und Umweltpädagogik, oder auch von Waldtherapie profitieren? Wie könnte dieses “Green Care” als Präventivleistung von Krankenkassen angeboten werden, und welche innovativen und tragfähige privatwirtschaftliche Initiativen gibt es? Um mit Ihnen gemeinsam Antworten zu diesen Fragen zu finden, veranstaltet das European Forest Institute in Bonn am 23. November 2022 im Rahmen des „Green4C“-Projektes einen “Hackathon”.

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Sustaining cities, naturally – across 3 continents

The role of cities in the light of the health of people and the planet alike, is undeniably crucial. While cities only make up about 2% of terrestrial areas, more than 50% of the World’s population is already living in cities (Pincetl, 2017). This trend of urbanization is expected to continue to grow into a staggering 65% of the world population living in cities by 2040 (weforum, 2019).  

While poorly planned urbanization can lead to societal challenges such as social deprivation, climate change, deteriorating health and increasing pressure on urban nature, urban ecosystem restoration can contribute to lessen these challenges, through for example implementing nature-based solutions (NBS). Research by the ISGlobal drastically illustrated this: An increase in overall greenness in cities could prevent up to almost 43.000 deaths in European cities every year (ISGlobal, 2021).
On Thursday and Friday, the 13th and 14th of October the webinar “Sustaining Cities, Naturally” focused precisely on these topics: NBS and urban ecosystem restoration. The webinar was jointly organized by four Horizon 2020 projects: INTERLACECONEXUSREGREEN and CLEARING HOUSE as an official side-event of the The European Week of Regions and Cities 2022. By bringing together cities, regions and local authorities, city network representatives, policy makers, researchers, civil society and experts on NBS and urban ecosystem restoration, the webinar was a showcase example of international cooperation in knowledge creation and exchange. With a total of 333 participants on Thursday and 571 on Friday as well as 29 speakers, NBS and urban ecosystems restoration in Europe, China and Latin America were discussed in depth and from various perspectives.  

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Join the webinar “Sustaining Cities, Naturally: Urban ecosystem restoration”

Poorly planned urbanisation can lead to societal challenges as social deprivation, climate change, deteriorating health and increasing pressure on urban nature. Urban ecosystem restoration can contribute to lessen these challenges, e.g. through implementing nature-based solutions (NBS). This online webinar illustrates how Horizon 2020 projects are supporting international cooperation in knowledge creation and knowledge exchange between local authorities and researchers to promote urban ecosystem restoration in Europe, China and Latin America.

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The city of contrasts: Learning about forests and trees in Industriewald and Rheinelbepark in Gelsenkirchen

Establishing the first marteloscope in an Urban Forest and discovering the transition of Gelsenkirchen

How do marteloscopes – these forest demonstration sites, where all trees are mapped and measured – and Gelsenkirchen, a city located in the so-called Ruhrpott fit together? You might be surprised that after being known as the “City of Thousand Fires” characterised by the coal, iron, and steel industry, and being a target of several air raids during World War II, Gelsenkirchen went through different economic and social changes. To boost its attractiveness for citizens, the city is now “shaping” its sustainability, investing in solar energy and converting numerous former mining sites into small city parks and urban forests [1]. The city of Gelsenkirchen is also a partner in the CLEARINGHOUSE project, which connects China and Europe and explores the potential of Urban Forests for more liveable cities. And as part of this big international project, we – four researchers from European Forest Institute’s Bonn Office – established two new marteloscopes in the Urban Forest in Gelsenkirchen. This was not only an interesting experience because they were the first marteloscope sites we set up in urban forests, but also because of the vegetation and the fact, that these forests are not used for wood production.

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Topic-specific thematic guidelines on urban forestry as a nature based solution (UF-NBS) – Opportunities for authors

The CLEARING HOUSE project addresses a global challenge that unites European and Chinese cities in their quest to develop more resilient cities and liveable societies in…

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Greener, less mortality: The ranking of European Cities

Written by Gabriela Grigorita

Half the world’s population lives in cities and this is likely to increase to 70% over the next 20 years. Cities provide jobs, are centers of innovation and wealth creation, but also often are hotspots of air pollution (e.g. particulate matter, NO2), noise, heat and disease. It is well known that the high density of buildings and roads may cause the so-called urban heat island, defined as build-up areas that are hotter than nearby rural areas. Furthermore, cities often lack accessible green space and physical activity levels of people are below recommended guidelines. They also generate a large proportion of CO2 emissions and contribute significantly to the climate crisis. Recent estimates show that 60%-80% of final energy use globally is consumed by urban areas and more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions are produced within urban areas.

Up to 9 million people die each year because of ambient air pollution levels, 3.2 million because of lack of physical activity and 1.2 million because of traffic accidents. Noise causes more than 1.8 million deaths a year in Europe alone and heat may cause as much as around 0.4% of premature mortality annually worldwide. Population growth, aging and the climate crisis put a further burden on cities in many aspects, including health.

A team from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has identified European cities with the highest and lowest death rates attributable to a lack of green space. The team analyzed more than 1,000 cities of over 100,000 residents in 31 European countries. The results were published in The Lancet Planetary Health and concluded that up to 43,000 premature deaths could be prevented each year if these cities met the World Health Organization’s guidelines on housing proximity to green space.

Green spaces bring a long range of benefits to our health, including lower premature mortality, longer life expectancy, fewer mental health problems, fewer cardiovascular diseases, better cognitive functioning in children and healthier seniors and babies. As we all know, green also helps mitigate air pollution, heat and noise levels, help capture CO2, and provide opportunities for exercise and social interaction.

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„Grüne Infrastrukturen gemeinsam gestalten“: CLEARING HOUSE Workshop in Gelsenkirchen

Wissen Sie, was „grüne Infrastrukturen“ sind? Und welche Rolle sie in Städten spielen (sollten)? Was theoretisch und trocken klingt, sieht in der Praxis recht bunt aus: Parks und andere grüne Oasen in der Stadt gehören dazu, urban gardening-Projekte und Naturschutzgebiete. Ebenso die Linde vor unserer Tür und der Schmetterlingsflieder, der an der Autobahnauffahrt blüht.

Aber sind unsere Städte grün genug? Und profitieren alle Bürger*innen davon oder nur bestimmte Gruppen? Diskutieren Sie mit uns am 9. September 2021 im “Grünlabor” in Gelsenkirchen (Programm hier)!

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