Urban Green Belts

Urban Green Belts

Source of funding

European Commission

Name of client/donor

Municipality of 12th District of Budapest (Hegyvidek)

Topic area

Health and Environment; Law Development, Enforcement and Compliance

Overall project value

EUR 2,437,956

Date

June 2016 – May 2019

Beneficiary countries

Central Europe

Number of staff

11

Almost two-thirds of the population of Central Europe live in so-called functional urban areas, the negative impacts of which represent a major challenge in terms of both environment and quality of life. Ongoing (sub)urbanisation processes are resulting in many environmental problems, such as poor air quality and soil sealing, as well as land-use conflicts in and around cities. Although green spaces are key to a healthy urban environment, and their appropriate management makes it possible to tackle a variety of harmful environmental impacts and climate-related risks, they are not an integral feature of environmental management policies in most urban areas in Central Europe. The management of urban green spaces is often outsourced, and the greening of cities is hindered by insufficient financial and human resources at municipal level. Local measures for the effective protection of green spaces are typically lacking. At the same time, the environmental, social and economic benefits of urban green spaces are not being effectively exploited due to lack of appropriate information and a lack of commitment on the part of decision makers. Enhanced cooperation between actors at different governance levels, and the involvement of stakeholders, including citizens, in decision-making and implementation processes, would also be valuable. This would streamline resources and significantly strengthen the capacities of public authorities, enabling the introduction of more sustainable, integrated urban green space management systems.

The main objective of the project is to improve the planning, management and decision-making capacities of the public sector in relation to urban green spaces. Public authority project partners will gain expertise on how to exploit the various environmental, social and economic benefits of urban green spaces, and how to create a stakeholder cooperation platform for their more effective management. Pilot activities will provide feedback for the development of a smart governance manual on integrated urban green space management, which synthesises all the solutions and methods developed. Partners in functional urban areas will create their own roadmaps on how to introduce smart governance for greener urban environments.

By adapting a green infrastructure approach, decision makers will be committed to integrating the management of green spaces into the local/regional environmental management system, and to channelling the issue into spatial planning and development policies. By establishing systematic cooperation between public bodies at all levels, and with non-governmental stakeholders within urban areas, and by involving community groups in co-creation and maintenance, the financial, organisational and human capacities for urban green space management will be significantly improved. This will result in advantages for the urban environment and the environmental performance of urban areas by enhancing biodiversity, improving air quality, reducing ambient noise, mitigating heatwaves, preventing floods, and promoting overall quality of life. As the innovative solutions developed will be replicable, knowledge transfer through (trans)national networks will enable urban area authorities beyond the partnership to adapt the results to their own needs.

The main project activities are:

  • assessing the current management frameworks (policy, legal and financial) for urban green space management;
  • elaborating smart governance models for integrated urban green space management in three areas (GIS-based spatial planning decision support; community involvement in planning; and multi-stakeholder and integrated urban green space governance);
  • testing and demonstrating smart tools and methods for integrated urban green space management; and
  • integrating innovative solutions for urban green space management into policy and practice.
  • Policy analysis
  • Preparation of guidance documents
  • Local assessment
  • Capacity building
  • Training
  • Cooperation
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Transnational stakeholder involvement
  • Event organisation
  • Thematic work package coordination