INTEGRATED TRANSITION PROJECTS

GREEN COMFORT ZONES

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TURAS expert contact:
Stuart Connop
Main role - Researcher

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BUILDING MULTIBENEFIT NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS IN CHALLEGING URBAN HOT-SPOTS

The TURAS integrated approach

Multi-functional urban green infrastructure design can help to mitigate these negative impacts of urbanisation. Besides microclimatic benefits , carefully and innovatively planned urban green spaces allow for a multitude of social activities, increase water retention capacity, reduce fresh water consumption in comparison to conventional designs, save CO2 by re-using building materials, reduce noise, absorb pollutants and particulates and provide for biodiversity. By appropriately designing and implementing UGI projects, a range of local cohesion benefits can be maximised and the economic value brought to local communities can be enhanced.

TRANSITION ACCOMPLISHED

CO2 neutral metabolism ecologically effective urban ... inclusive communities

Creating systemic Knowledge

In this integrated project, effective monitoring tools are used to quantify and assess not only the outputs and potential capacities of Urban Green Infrastructure (UGI) assets, but also provide an understanding of systemic interdependencies within urban ecologies. Relevant data on a wide range of ecosystem service functions, habitats, environmental conditions and their effects on human well-being is captured and considered.

  • ...quantifying and assessing the multifunctional benefits of a wide typology of Urban Green Infrastructure assets ...presenting an evidence base of current understanding of the added value of UGI interventions

  • ...considering the biodesign of green infrastructure and how the green infrastructure contributes to the functioning of the city
    ...understanding current and potential capacity, barriers and drivers to installation

  • ...identifying interdependencies between regionally important habitats and multifunctional ecosystem service provision ...identifying the processes necessary for incorporating regional context into UGI design

  • ...installing green spaces at unconventional and unexpected locations to support public debate about re-naturing cities and as demonstrators to generate novel understanding of benefits

  • ...identifying local assets within the neighbourhood that could produce community value and be managed by the community

  • ...mapping and quantifying location-specific ecosystem services

  • ...identifying priority areas of concern with the help of guidelines for tackling heat island effects of urban open spaces
    ...visualising thermal stress mapping in urban areas to support local planning

  • ...engaging key stakeholders to provide the diverse knowledge necessary for improving flood retention reservoirs

  • ...monitoring data of UGI mulfiunctional ecosystem performance

Developing shared visions

A showcase of best practice examples is built, communicating the multifunctional values of urban green infrastructure, and supporting communities and decision-makers in their local visioning processes.

  • ...providing sources of high level information on practical solutions and case studies for overcoming resource barriers in order to realise (green infrastructure) project ideas

  • ...understanding and communicating the multifunctional values that urban green infrastructure can provide to urban areas and communities in an early stage of the projects
    ...providing a tool to support community groups to build their understanding of, and the wider business case for, the value that UGI interventions can have on quality of life

  • ...providing social and educational activities in order to raise awareness about green infrastructure benefits

  • ...addressing urban populations directly through a focus on priority areas for movement and aggregation in cities

  • ...incorporating monitoring best practice from the inception of a Green Infrastructure project
    ...generating data on UGI performance in a format that is accesible to all stakeholders

  • ...assessing community perception of environmental problems and UGI solutions in order to develop better targeted green infrastructure policies
    ...identifying gaps in understanding in order to improve environmental education efforts

  • ...engaging local communities/broad stakeholder groups in the UGI decision-making process

  • ...delivering first hand experience of multifunctional values of UGI for understanding and communicating their benefits to urban areas and communities

  • ...activating the local community in order to enable them to identify and formulate their wishes, values and visions for local assets with a task force of transdisciplinary designers and community stakeholders

Developing integrated strategies

A comprehensive consideration of local and regional conditions is combined with an integrated and systemic approach to Urban Green Infrastructure design. This leads to the development of truly multifunctional and context-sensitive projects. Considering best practice examples supports strategic decision-making and helps to build investment cases.

  • …understanding decisions involved in the planning process, and sharing good practice in terms of planning, designing, installing and managing urban green infrastructure

  • ...including location-specific environmental issues and regionally typical and important habitats and ecosystems into the design of UGI
    ...incorporating regional context into local plans/planning guidance

  • ...a collaborative process and community-based institutional model to set up a strategic management plan in order to develop inclusive pathways to achieve the comprehensive localized vision

  • ...identifying good practice real-world case studies and the main principles behind them to support decision making ...unlocking the understanding necessary to develop local strategic plans for broader roll out

  • ...providing a mapped evidence-base to support UGI decision-making

  • ...building optimal and contextually specific business and investment cases for urban green infrastructure at the outset of new project initiation, based on quantitative and qualitative assessment of the environment, social and economic values of UGI initiatives Infrastructure projects
    ...effectively communicating the values of UGI for non-experts through the use of existing best practise case studies

  • ...providing innovative solutions in order to fill physical gaps of UGI strategies

  • ...proposing local adaptation measures to enhance thermal comfort, micro-climate, amenity value and biodiversity in urban regions (with strategically distributed green spaces)

  • ...instigating a collaborative decision-making process for improving flood retention reservoirs

Implementing transition activities

The implementation of Green Comfort Zones is supported by detailed guidelines on designing and constructing context-specific multifunctional elements.

  • ...creating guidelines and an online tool for setting-up and implementing community projects though case study models and links to resources

  • ...supporting the development of cost/value understanding necessary for building a business case to unlock funding for implementation

  • ...setting up a Community Interest Company (CIC) as a type of non-profit social enterprise that manages local assets (including Green Infrastructure assets) and facilitates the development of skills and activities that benefit the community

  • ...implementing multi-benefit vertical green infrastructure (suitable for difficult urban locations and short time frames)
    ...providing guidelines for the decision-making process and business case for installing living walls ...practical guidance for implementation and legacy management

  • ...providing examples of how to design and construct UGI using mimicry of regionally typical and important habitats (key habitat niches)
    ...providing examples of how multi-partner demonstration projects can be used as a research focus to provide evidence for the establishment of local planning protocols and international UGI design principles

  • ...implementing and monitoring local adaptation demonstrator to generate supporting evidence for up-scaling and broad roll-out

  • ...implementing appropriate maintenance measures into existing retention structures
    ...incorporating benefits to local communities such as improved green open spaces and educational facilities

The transition challenge

Inhabitants of high density urban areas are faced with multiple environment-related issues, such as summer heat stress caused by the urban heat island effect as well as storm water related flooding, both exacerbated by climate change. Further negative effects are concrete health issues related to excess noise and the intake of pollutants as well as the physiological and psychological follow-up costs associated with a scarcity of appropriable open space and a general nature deficit. The accompanying loss of biodiversity threatens ecosystem-functioning and therefore human well-being in the long-term.

TRANSITION INITIATED

Please get in touch with our expert contact for additional material.