On 4 and 14 May 2021 the second online workshops of the VEG-GAP project took place in Bologna and Milan during which the project partners illustrated the new tools developed and the results obtained so far in understanding the effects of vegetation in these two pilot cities. After receiving information about the EU LIFE VEG-GAP project and its platform, the audience was invited to interact with the speakers and to provide input for the improvement of the platform. For this purpose, a group of speakers chosen from among the project partners was joined by a selected audience of specialists from different professional fields (Researchers; Air quality managers; Green area managers; Climate change planners; Urban/territorial planners; Environmental investment managers and companies; Journalists, Communication experts).
The main elements that emerged from the Bologna workshop were:
I) In the metropolitan area of Bologna, 5 reforestation projects have been submitted to the Italian Ministry of Ecological Transition which, if approved, could be a great stimulus to expand the project analysis beyond the borders of the municipality, thus including the other 54 municipalities of the former province and cities of the Emilia-Romagna Region.
II) In the future, the VEG-GAP platform could become a 'compass' between the different methodologies and tools for assessing the effects of vegetation on air quality and climate in cities, making its special features more and more evident compared to its benchmark.
III) VEG-GAP represents an interesting solution for the future and that is why it will be important to enhance the dissemination of the results, both to decision makers and technicians, as well as to researchers and young students.
The main findings of the Milan workshop were:
I) In Milan, the VEG-GAP project will increasingly collaborate with the Clever Cities Project, a Horizon 2020 project on the use of nature-based solutions (NBS) for urban regeneration. An example of this is the support that the VEG-GAP information platform will be able to give to the Clever Cities project, integrating the studies of this project on the micro-climate of individual neighborhoods or buildings with assessments on a larger scale.
II) The attention to the scale of the individual building or neighborhood will allow the VEG-GAP project to get closer and closer to citizens, providing them with useful information also to assess the impact of pollutants and vegetation on their health.
III) Another important aspect for the VEG-GAP project will be to evaluate the effects of de-paving and forestation in the Air and Climate Plan of the Municipality of Milan (PAC). The results of the project could contribute to future PAC monitoring activities.