URBiNAT: Mission, Goals, Methods
URBiNAT focuses on the regeneration and integration of underserved city districts. Project interventions focus on public spaces and the co-creation, with citizens, of new social and nature-based relations within and between different neighbourhoods. Using a holistic approach, taking into account the full physical, mental and social well-being of citizens, URBiNAT aims to co-create a Healthy Corridor as an innovative and flexible nature-based solution (NBS), which itself integrates a large number of micro NBS emerging from community-driven design processes.
URBiNAT consists of a worldwide consortium of academic and business partners in 7 European cities. Each URBiNAT city will act as Living Lab for the implementation of Healthy Corridor solutions. Cities are supported by local partners, associations and research centres, and other European centres, universities and companies.
Together partners are developing a participatory process, an NBS catalogue and a Healthy Corridor, while monitoring impacts, and disseminating and marketing results. Together, they form an inclusive community of practice (CoP), collaborating with partners from Iran and China, and NBS observers located in Brazil, Oman and Japan.
Partners contribute their innovative NBS experience deployed through an array of transdisciplinary knowledge, methodologies and tools, as nature-based solutions. This is supplemented by ‘smart’ digital tools, citizen engagement, solidarity and social economy initiatives, social innovation for value-generation, incubation for business development and capacity building, and ICT governance platforms. The social, economic and urban impacts will be measured and replicated by URBiNAT Observatory.
The Healthy Corridor Concept
The Healthy Corridor concept and strategy is based on the clustering of nature-based solutions that are selected in a process of co-design and co-creation with local residents. A Healthy Corridor is more than a piece of urban green infrastructure intended to improve the quality of the urban environment and mitigate climate risks. It is also a social and cultural infrastructure that has been co-created by citizens and stakeholders for the purpose of promoting the well-being of the community having a positive impact on health. In this sense, URBiNAT is working to extend the concept of nature-based solutions to integrate participatory solutions as well as solutions that relate to the social and solidarity economy.
The Healthy Corridor is a ‘GREEN ARTICULATION’ designed as a pedestrian walkway or viaduct in the public space to integrate neighbourhoods into the urban structure. Each URBiNAT Healthy Corridor will integrate and link diverse NBS developed by project partners, using NBS featured in the URBiNAT NBS Catalogue and appropriate methods and tools for monitoring and evaluation.
This will be achieved by focusing on citizens’ well-being in relation to energy, water, food, nature, mobility, participation, behavioural change, digital democracy, social cohesion and the solidarity economy.
HEALTHY CORRIDORS, with a customised NBS catalogue, will be co-created and co-planned for the frontrunner and follower cities, testing an innovative and inclusive urban model to regenerate deprived districts, specifically within and linking social housing neighbourhoods.
Participative-design will be the cornerstone approach in achieving new models of urban development. Design thinking processes and methods will underpin the creation of Healthy Corridors with NBS.
A Living Lab for each URBiNAT City
We propose an urban inclusive and innovative nature for our neighbourhoods
The main locus of URBiNAT’s activity is the Living Lab of each city (WP2), which is a platform and ecosystem for the other WPs to take place. It is populated by people as participating stakeholders (WP3), who then develop the Healthy Corridor with its NBS (WP4), that is measured and evaluated by the Observatory (WP5), leading to the dissemination of results (WP6) and marketing (WP7).
We activate living labs and inclusive communities of practice
In frontrunner cities, the living labs will co-design, co-develop, co-implement and test NBS. In follower cities, living labs will follow thesame processes of co-creation and co- development, replicating and adapting NBS to their own urban contexts within an urban plan. The living lab story for a follower city, as well as other projects and non-European partners, is generally one step behind, learning from the frontrunners. However, all cities are learning and sharing with each other, so that follower cities may lead on some tasks or activities, depending on the spread of specific expertise, experience and resources.
URBiNAT co-creation process
URBiNAT will engage citizens and stakeholders in a collaborative process with consortium partners to co-develop local diagnostics, the selection of NBS, the design of Healthy Corridors, as well as their implementation continuous monitoring.
A set of participatory NBS will support these innovative processes of regenerating urban areas. This co-creation methodology will empower the citizens and contribute to the health and wellbeing of communities.
Related project resources
D3.1: Strategic design and usage of participatory solutions and relevant digital tools in support of NBS uptake
This deliverable 3.1 is the first deliverable of Work package 3 on participatory processes. As such the deliverable identifying the actors involved in participation and the conditions needed for active, positive and ethically sound participation.
D3.2: Community Driven Processes to Co-Design and Co-Implement NBS
Deliverable 3.2 (D3.2) is the second deliverable of work package 3 (WP3) on citizens’ engagement. D3.1, submitted in month 12 of the project, reported on the strategic design, use of participatory solutions and relevant digital tools in support of the uptake of n ature-based solutions ( NBS). D3.2 reports on the advancements of the URBiNAT project in tailoring participatory methods and tools to city cultures for the co-design and co-implementation of NBS processes.
From West to East, the cities of Porto, Nantes and Sofia act as frontrunners based on their demonstrated experience in the innovative use of public space with NBS. From South to North, the cities of Siena, Nova Gorica, Bruxelles and Høje-Taastrup share and replicate URBiNAT concepts and methodologies, acting as ‘followers’.
Each city is supported by local partners, associations and research centres, as well as by ‘horizontal’ centres, universities and companies which link between cities. The collaboration with non-European partners, including in China and Iran, as well as with NBS observers based in Brazil, Japan, Oman and the vibrant cities of Shenyang in China and Khorramabad in Iran brings international experiences and dimension to the project.
URBiNAT Partners & Community of Practice
Beyond the specific aims of the project, URBiNAT is committed to the establishment of a broad-based, international and interdisciplinary Community of Practice comprised of citizens, researchers, urban planners, environmentalists, policy makers, city administrators and private sector entrepreneurs.
Nature Based Solutions Cooperation Manifesto (2018)
URBiNAT is a signatory, with 15 sister H2020 projects of the NBS Cooperation Manifesto. The signatories of this manifesto share the aim of “bringing together cities, citizens, research institutes and industry to demonstrate Nature-Based Solutions and business models that can be scaled up and replicated in a joint effort towards a green urban transformation at a global scale.” Read more.