Korramabad: The URBiNAT Observer City that has led by example
In the face of adversity, communities often demonstrate incredible resilience and the ability to rebuild stronger than ever. Khorramabad, one of the URBiNAT Observer Cities in Iran, is a remarkable example of this.
In a collaborative effort with URBiNAT’s Frontrunner and Follower cities, Khorramabad has actively pursued initiatives over the past five years to involve its citizens in the co-selection and co-creation of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS). These endeavours have been conducted with a view to fostering a more resilient, sustainable, and healthy city, with the active participation of all sections of the community.
The city’s remarkable resilience and ability to recover were vividly demonstrated in the aftermath of the devastating 2019 floods and then again with the unprecedented challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In this blogpost we briefly recap the journey of Khorramabad’s engagement in the URBiNAT project, its citizens’ remarkable resilience and capacity for innovation, and the integration of new and ancient NBS practices that have withstood the test of time.
Citizen Engagement and Co-Creation:
Khorramabad’s journey towards resilience and sustainable urban development is very much based on the involvement of its citizens in decision-making processes. Through workshops, forums, and participatory platforms, citizens were encouraged to share their ideas, concerns, and aspirations. This inclusive approach fostered a sense of ownership and empowered the community to co-create Nature-Based Solutions tailored to their needs.
Learning from Frontrunner and Follower Cities
Khorramabad leveraged the expertise and experience of URBiNAT’s Frontrunner and Follower cities, forming valuable collaborations to exchange knowledge and best practices. These partnerships facilitated the transfer of innovative approaches, design principles, and methodologies, inspiring Khorramabad to implement Nature-Based Solutions that aligned with its unique context.
URBiNAT Workshops, Korramabad, 2019
Co-Developing URBiNAT NBS
The Khorramabad-URBiNAT team coordinated the co-selection and co-creation of NBS according to the methods and practices developed by the URBiNAT project. Over the past five years, Khorramabad has undertaken various activities to engage citizens in the co-selection and co-creation of NBS. The Khorramabad team has also actively participated in research activities related to the implementation and monitoring of NBS.
Resilience after the 2019 Flooding
In 2019, Khorramabad faced a devastating flood that tested the city’s resilience. However, the citizens’ determination and the integration of citizen engagement practices allowed them to rebuild the city with a focus on sustainability.
Restoring Ancient NBS Practices:
While incorporating innovative solutions, Khorramabad has also recognized the value of its ancient Nature-Based Solutions. The city has embraced the restoration and preservation of traditional practices such as the Qanat system, which has been supplying water for centuries. This harmonious integration of ancient NBS with contemporary approaches is an example of the importance of cultural heritage, sustainability, and the utilization of local resources.
Impact and Future Outlook:
Khorramabad’s commitment to citizen engagement and the co-creation of Nature-Based Solutions was demonstrated on several occasions during the project. By fostering a stronger connection between citizens and their environment, Khorramabad has witnessed positive transformations in public spaces, social cohesion, and overall well-being. Looking ahead, Khorramabad aims to continue implementing Nature-Based Solutions, ensuring sustainable urban development and a thriving future for its residents.
An example to follow
Khorramabad’s journey exemplifies the power of citizen engagement and resilience in the face of adversity. By actively involving citizens in the co-selection and co-creation of Nature-Based Solutions, the city has not only recovered from catastrophic flooding but also paved the way for a more sustainable and inclusive future.
Khorramabad’s integration of ancient NBS practices further reinforces the importance of honouring cultural heritage while embracing innovation. As Khorramabad continues its path towards resilience, it serves as an inspiring model for cities worldwide, demonstrating the transformative potential of citizen engagement and Nature-Based Solutions in building sustainable communities.