The UGB team is pleased to announce the arrival of summer—and our second project newsletter! The newsletter includes a description of ‘Functional Urban Areas’—otherwise known as FUAs—and their importance in urban green space management. Also, find out what’s happening with smart model development, read a summary of conclusions of the project’s comprehensive baseline survey, and get up to date with the latest activities all our project partner cities and areas.
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The project’s second partner meeting (April 19-21, 2017) was hosted by the Maribor Development Agency. The partners, after sharing a great deal of knowledge and experience at the meeting, returned to work in their home cities with recharged batteries and rekindled enthusiasm.
On 7th of February 2017 researchers from the Research station of ZRC SAZU Nova Gorica organised a press conference at the Municipality of Nova Gorica, where they presented their recent studies on the 70th anniversary of the beginning t of the construction of city Nova Gorica.
Having a park or garden right on your doorstep when living in a city is an advantage most property seekers are looking for. Such greens offer an improved life quality. They not only provide leisure or sports facilities but make the air cleaner, reduce urban noise and even improve the urban climate. Yet if they are not in a good shape they can easily turn into a burden and a constant “battlefield” between inhabitants and the responsible authorities.
Green belts, often spreading over a number of smaller settlements around big cities, are the “lungs” of these densely populated cities that can provide various environmental, social and economic benefits.
To achieve these benefits, however, traditional authority approaches are no longer enough and efficient. That is why the challenge of how these green spaces could be managed smartly through cooperation of inhabitants and various authorities will be in the focus of Urban Green Belts.
There is a common demand for better functioning operational models in central Europe, yet project partners on their own would not have the capabilities to develop a complex novel system. Through improving capacities of all actors via this joint work, management of urban green spaces will become more efficient and a more integrated part of environmental management systems. This will also lead to an enhanced biodiversity, improved air quality, less urban noise, more bearable urban heat waves and a generally improved quality of urban life.
Urban Green Belt partners from 7 countries will develop innovative methods and tools (based on applying green infrastructure, community involvement and multi-level governance concepts) leading to integrated models for managing urban green spaces smartly. How these novel solutions work will be tested jointly through pilot actions and compiled into a manual to serve as guidance on reforming green spaces management for any public authority in Europe for the benefit of inhabitants.
Urban green areas should be viewed in a complex and integrated way — in other words, as part of the "whole" green infrastructure. When planning urban green spaces, many aspects, data and indicators should be considered at the same time. GIS, which originates both from the landscape planning and urban planning professions, can be a good tool to use when looking for answers to complex questions.
Successful, sustainable development and management of urban green spaces requires integrated planning and maintenance. This is a process that involves varied input from multiple stakeholders — local decision-making bodies, experts, citizens, the business community, etc. How do we set such a process in motion and make it effective? How do we reach out to different actors and keep them involved? The community involvement model provides methods and easy-to-use tools for local authorities that will help to answer these and other questions.
Effective UGS management requires a strong, multi-level approach because urban green spaces are integral parts of different levels and units of public administration. What this means in theory is that many different authorities are supposed to be "officially" involved in UGS planning and maintaining processes. In practice, however, cooperation and communication between these various organisations, units and authorities is not always efficiently or effectively coordinated. This model will facilitate the dialogue process for UGS planning and implementation.
Municipality of 12th District of Budapest (Hegyvidék)
Research Studios Austria – Studio iSPACE
Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Maribor Development Agency
The UGB project has 10 partners from 7 central European countries