On the importance of social participation for co-creating cities worth living in where solutions are inspired by nature
In an exclusive video interview with the European Research Executive Agency (REA), Nathalie Nunes and Americo Mateus representing the URBiNAT project talk about the importance of social participation in the co-creation of cities worth living in, where solutions are inspired by nature.
From the article:
The Horizon 2020-funded project Urban Innovative and Inclusive Nature – URBiNAT – believes that solutions inspired by nature can have a positive impact on the planet, as well as on human health, wellbeing, social cohesion, sustainable economic development and quality of life.
Targeting areas of urban regeneration across Europe, URBiNAT is encouraging citizens’ participation in the design of human habitats worth living in.
In the run up to European Green Week, we sat down with URBiNAT’s members Nathalie Nunes and Américo Mateus to learn more about their five-year project, and how their work could contribute to sustainable and greener cities in Europe.
Nathalie Nunes: URBiNAT has been developing activities with citizen’s local associations, municipalities and also targeting children and youth. We framed activities that are adjusted to their interests. For us, having children participating is a big issue, it is their right to participate, and we see them as citizens today and for the future of tomorrow. So what we want to advance is raising awareness on how children and youth need to participate without being held back by the expectations of adults, because we already have children who are activists who are already concerned about climate change and sustainable policies, so we need to support initiatives. For us, we need to be at the centre of the process.
Américo Mateus: When we are talking about the next generation and climate change, the burden is on the shoulders of youngsters and they feel as if they are receiving a very bad heritage, and the wheel of change is not so big. If you address this just by theoretical models and statements, it will only empower that negative idea. So what we are doing is going into schools and applying new dynamics which are playful and enjoyable. So they are participating, co-creating and implementing these nature-based solutions in their schools and in their communities. They can directly see the change and the immediate impact in front of them. This removes the weight from their shoulders, the idea that the world is ending from climate change.