SCIENTISTS AND BUSINESS experts from Trinity College Dublin are leading a €12 million European project which looks to nature for answers to the problems modern cities face.
The Connecting Nature project aims to bring nature back into cities across Europe.
The project is led by Dr Marcus Collier of Trinity College. He explained that the project “will co-create city-wide master plans to scale out nature-based solutions and generate funding for them.
This is not just about building climate resilience, it is about transforming cities for future generations.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie Dr Collier explained that these nature-based solutions can be extremely beneficial.
He said that there is growing recognition that investment in smart nature-based solutions can be hugely beneficial to cities and help to address problems such as excessive rain, heat or dust.
These solutions include the creation of urban woodlands, roof gardens, green walls and green corridors.
Dr Collier said that research has shown that employees who have access to roof gardens take fewer sick days and strikes decline.
The team also created mobile “green living rooms” which have proven effective at combating “urban heat islands”.
These heat islands are the stifling parts of big cities, such as London and Berlin, that are significantly warmer than the surrounding area.
The project partners will develop innovative nature-based solutions in various European cities.
The frontrunner cities are Glasgow, Poznan in Poland and Genk in Belgium. No Irish cities are involved in the project.
Dr Collier argued that the solutions are beneficial on two fronts, firstly they work and, secondly, people enjoy them:
In Poznan they introduced artificial sandy beaches along the city’s river which is helping combat the danger posed by flash floods and is also beautiful to walk the dog on.
Thirty-seven organisations from 19 countries are involved in the Trinity led project which seeks to establish Europe as a global leader in rethinking how cities can support and benefit from nature.
Head of the School of Natural Sciences at Trinity, Professor Fraser Mitchell, said: “In this post-Brexit world, there are many fears and concerns.
“But projects like Connecting Nature build on diversity, bringing together local authorities, communities, industry partners and researchers to build important networks of trust and cooperation across Europe.”