The main objective is to create an extensive reference platform for Nature Based Solutions, offering techniques, methodologies and tools to the actors responsible for urban planning and territory renaturalization. For this reason, the European research and innovation program Horizon 2020 has financed the Nature4Cities project, which allows European cities to face the current environmental, social and economic challenges. Among the project partners there is also, as a pilot city, the Metropolitan City of Milan.
Nature4Cities intends to bring Nature back to the center of innovation, implementation and urban change processes, through an innovative approach, both technical and managerial, implying the preparation of collaborative and participatory models in order to allow citizens, researchers, public administrations and the private sector to take action and contribute together to the urban renewal process, in the sign of Nature.
Nature Based Solutions (NBS) are interventions that use and enhance existing natural solutions or explore new ones capable of representing positive responses to society's challenges and of guaranteeing environmental, social and economic benefits. NBS are resistant to change but also energy and resource efficient. One of their fundamental characteristics is to encourage the development of a systemic approach and at the same time they allow to adapt the interventions to the local context of reference.
Therefore, the main goals of Nature4Cities project are to encourage the integration of NBS in urban and territorial planning and, at the same time, to build a new and active community network based on NBS. Among the goals, the project also aims to offer high quality tools in order to support the decision-making process aimed at cities renaturalization and to develop a NBS’ knowledge platform through the sharing of best practices. Finally, the project intends to propose new governance models, both economic and financial, to facilitate the implementation of NBS.
A role of great importance in the project is played by the platform for the evaluation of knowledge, which supports the decision-making processes. The platform provides an archive of knowledge and some tools for assessing impact, benefits and costs of NBS projects, as well as managing the participatory processes of stakeholders. It is aimed at politicians and public administrators, technicians and professionals, who can use the shared knowledge and tools to support their decisions. But it is also useful for researchers and the scientific and academic community, who, this way, have access to high-quality certified data and methodological developments.
Finally, the platform is a tool for the whole civil society, which can benefit from the knowledge dissemination modules and from the platform intended for the involvement of citizens - platform tested during the project in the four pilot cities (in addition to Milan they are Alcala de Henares in Spain, Ankara in Turkey and Szeged in Turkey).
The video introducing the Metropolitan City of Milan as the pilot city of the project.