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Projects and activities | 19 October 2022

BiodiverCities - A roadmap to enhance the biodiversity and green infrastructure of European cities by 2030

BiodiverCities is a project in the context of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030. It aims to enhance civil society participation in local and urban decision-making, leading to buiding a joint vision of the green city of tomorrow shared among citizens, scientists and policy-makers.

Brief me

BiodiverCities is funded by the EU at the request of the European Parliament. It is implemented by the Joint Research Centre and Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission.

The project has been collect practices of how to engage citizens in co-creating visions around urban nature, monitoring, and solutions to improve urban biodiversity in the fields of planning and policy-making. It has also contributed to the assessment of how urban green infrastructure can be used to provide local benefits for people and nature, and how it can contribute to enhancing regional biodiversity.

Through a public Call for an expression of interest, the BiodiverCities project has selected ten cities to experiment participatory and innovative approaches to enhance biodiversity in urban areas. The cities we have been working with are: Leiden (Netherlands), Palma de Mallorca (Spain), Valongo (Portugal),  Vilnius (Lithuania), Maribor (Slovenia), Novi Sad (Serbia), Palermo (Italy), Regalbuto (Italy), Varese (Italy) and Lisbon (Portugal). The city of Sofia (Bulgaria) have been involved into the second stream of work of this project, dedicated to the mapping of urban biodiversity and ecosystem services at European scale. In general, seven EU member states are represented within BiodiverCities, plus Serbia. 

We have been collaborating with experts representing each city, coming from different “walks of life”: practitioners of citizen engagement, planners, institutional representatives of local municipalities, researchers and CSO.

BiodiverCities is centered on co-creation as a pivotal element in urban planning and policymaking for biodiversity. In this spirit, ten participatory and innovative experiments are taking shape, with different focuses: from mapping of trees to establishing a new culture of biodiversity, reframing the relationship between humans and nature. Yet, they share the aim to empower citizens to co-create policies that are fit-for-purpose: designed with citizens and for citizens. Today, following the co-design phase, the citizen engagement activities have been implemented in 2021-2022.

The project started in late January 2020 and will run until December 2022.

A mid-term report of the project is available here.

The main public output of BiodiverCities will be an Atlas about “Engaged Communities for Greener Cities”, presenting the different maps used throughout the project and to co-produce change, highlighting challenges, including institutional, and lessons learnt of the local engagement processes. The Atlas will be published in Spring 2023. All projects, carried out in the ten cities involved, are reported on the Community of Practice website (click on the links above or visit https://cop-demos.jrc.ec.europa.eu/).

The final policy event of BiodiverCities took place on September 8, from 9 AM to 1 PM, kindly hosted by the European Committee of the Regions. The report of the event is available at the following link and the recording is accessible here.

Latest knowledge from this Project

This is a photo from the project meeting of BiodiverCities, held in Ispra on June 8, 2022 at the Collaborative Space