Sustaining cities, naturally

27-04-2023 / hannes.schwaiger

Webinar – Sustaining Cities Naturally

Urbanisation is one of the key drivers for degrading ecosystems. By 2030, cities are expected to cover three times as much land as they did in 2000, with much of the expansion occurring in biodiversity hotspots. By 2050 two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, running from 2021 through to 2030, aims to massively scale up the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems as a proven measure to fight climate change and enhance food security, water supply and biodiversity. The current post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework calls for at least 20% of degraded freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecosystems to be restored by 2030. Similarly, the EU proposes a legally binding regulation on nature restoration that explicitly targets the restoration of Europe’s nature, to repair the 80% of European habitats that are in poor condition, and to bring back nature to all ecosystems, from forest and agricultural land to marine, freshwater and urban ecosystems. For all cities, towns and suburbs, the nature restoration law proposes targets for “no net loss” urban green space and urban tree canopy cover by 2030 and the increase of green urban spaces in cities, towns and suburbs from 2040 onwards. However, targets for new green space in European cities, towns and suburbs do not kick in until 2040. Can we afford to wait?

REGREEN, together with the three sister projects CLEARINGHOUSE, INTERLACE and CONEXUS funded under the Horizon2020 programme on urban ecosystem restoration and international cooperation, hosted a widely attended webinar during the European Week of Regions and Cities on 13.-14. October 2022.

More than 500 participants from Latin America, Europe and China took part in sessions on key aspects relating to economics, policy, governance and institutional issues, social aspects, education and awareness, environmental quality and ecological quality of restoration activities. The webinar brought together science and practice from across China, Latin America and Europe to present and debate aspects that are imperative if we are to succeed in developing high quality urban nature restoration at scale.

These aspects are crucial in fostering urban transitions through a systemic change in how cities are operated and lived in. A number of tools, findings and approaches have been showed during these two days and we hope this will serve as an inspiration, prove useful in your work be it in academia, public services or private institutions.

Do follow the projects CLEARINGHOUSE, CONEXUS, INTERLACE and REGREEN to learn more. You can find all material from the webinar (recording, slides and resources list) as well as all outputs (papers, deliverables etc.) from the four projects gathered on this zenodo community page:

Key links of interest from the webinar:


Key messages:

Further readings:

Recordings day 1:

Recordings day 2 :