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Projects and activities | Last updated: 27 Jun 2023

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

BiodiverCities aimed 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 was a pilot project of the European Parliament, implemented by the Joint Research Centre and Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission.

The project collected practices on 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 also contributed to the mapping of ecosystem services and assessment of how urban green infrastructure can be used to provide local benefits for people and nature, by contributing to enhance regional biodiversity.

The project sits within the political context of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the latest COM (2022) 404 final CONFERENCE ON THE FUTURE OF EUROPE Putting Vision into Concrete Action. BiodiverCities can also provide knowledge and know-how of direct interest to EU Missions for Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities, Adaptation to Climate Change and Soil.

Through a public "Call for an expression of interest", the BiodiverCities project selected ten cities to experiment participatory and innovative approaches to enhance biodiversity in urban areas. The cities we worked with are: Leiden (Netherlands), Palma (Spain), Valongo (Portugal),  Vilnius (Lithuania), Maribor (Slovenia), Novi Sad (Serbia), Palermo (Italy), Regalbuto (Italy), Varese (Italy) and Lisbon (Portugal). The city of Sofia (Bulgaria) was involved into the second stream of work of this project, dedicated to the mapping of urban biodiversity and ecosystem services at European scale.

We collaborated 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 was centered on co-creation as a pivotal element in urban planning and policymaking for biodiversity. In this spirit, ten participatory and innovative experiments took shape, with different focuses: from mapping of swifts to establishing a new culture of biodiversity, re-framing the relationship between humans and nature. Yet, they shared the aim to empower citizens to co-create policies that are fit-for-purpose: designed with citizens and for citizens.The citizen engagement activities were implemented in 2021-2022.

The project started in late January 2020 and ended in April 2023.

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

The main public output of BiodiverCities is the "BiodiverCities Atlas: A participatory guide to building urban biodiverse futures", presenting the different case-studies and sharing highlights, challenges, including institutional, and lessons learnt of the local engagement processes. . 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