“The Mediterranean city model, characterized by the population density, the compactness of the building, the complexity of urban uses and functions, and the proximity of services on a pedestrian scale, must be claimed and protected” was stressed by the experts participating at a brainstorming encounter organised by the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation held in Malaga last February 2018.
The aim of this meeting was to organise a discussion about how to promote the implementation of Nature based Solutions (NbS) in Mediterranean cities. A group of 7 experts from different trans-disciplinary fields, covering urban ecology, research, public administration, international organisations, entrepreneurial network, and public agencies related to Mediterranean cities participated providing ideas and actions on how to get the best results, in terms of societal and biodiversity benefits from NbS implementation.
Several proposals on how to renaturing Mediterranean cities were highlighted such as the “superblocks” promoted in Barcelona, as an adequate urban model to promote sustainable and healthy cities, by changing the mobility model and releasing new public spaces for uses such as green corridors, community gardens, social and cultural activities, leisure, environmental education, etc.
Moreover, trees were featured as strategic elements for re-naturing cities and providing, simultaneously, environmental and multiple societal benefits, and urban agriculture was seen as part of the solution due to the great interest for community initiatives promoting proximity for local production and consumption.
Education in values linked to long-term sustainability vs short-term profit making values, and actions to promote empowerment of local population as drivers of change, taking advance of the sense of “community” that is intrinsic in the Mediterranean region were also highlighted by the expert group.
The meeting seized the opportunity to have an uptake of the Naturvation project and the Urban Nature Atlas which contains almost 1000 examples of Nature-Based Solutions from across 100 European cities, including North Mediterranean cities.
Several actions to follow up the discussion and to enlarge the group were proposed as well.