Session 8 | Cities

9.30 | Cities: where are they and where do they want to be? Green infrastructure innovations by some of Europe’s foremost city greening leaders

  • London – Peter Massini Green Infrastructure Leader, Greater London Authority | Green infrastructure for denser cities

Constructed wetlands in the Olympic Park (Photo: Peter Massini)

Cities demonstrate our ability to engineer the landscape to meet our economic and cultural needs. Established land-use planning policies in London have prevented the wholescale loss of green space. But London’s population is expected to reach 11 million by 2050 with growth contained within the existing city boundaries. To create a denser and greener city we have to craft a more sophisticated policy framework that promotes an integrated network of parks, green roofs, trees, rain gardens, green walls and green corridors that act as a ‘green infrastructure’.


  • Paris – Marc Barra Natureparif | Urban ecology mission

Parc des Grands Moulins à Paris (Photo © Gilles Lecuir)

Marc will present case studies of nature-based solutions developed in Paris region and show how local actors are using nature as a tool for climate change adaptation. Particular focus will be given to the French Capital of Biodiversity Award : a competition for cities and group of cities co-animated by Natureparif. We will show examples of actors that have chosen biodiversity as a keystone concept for green infrastructure design, with a focus on urban planning, architecture, and public spaces. We’ll finally present the first results of a study that compare the costs of grey and green infrastructure.

  • Budapest – Prof Kinga Szilágyi and Zsombor Tatai Budapest City Planning Department | Urban Green Infrastructure Development Concept – towards a GREEN BUDAPEST

Green space and urban landscape architecture are integral to Budapest’s development. GREEN BUDAPEST is a stand-alone program in which GREEN is the primary guideline and both a target and a tool for social, economic, technical and ecological development of urban environmental issues and tasks.

For Budapest, it is vital to preserve and develop a healthier, diverse, liveable and inspirational metropolitan environment, to improve environmental quality and maintain the population. GREEN BUDAPEST also aims to increase open space and attractiveness for a green, sustainable, eco-conscious city that can increase domestic and international tourism.

GREEN BUDAPEST is based on comprehensive research of complex criteria with urban ecological, technical, social and economic aspects at the forefront, and innovative research methods and elements. It is a system-driven experiment to summarize legal and institutional tasks and responsibilities at national, capital and district levels, and partner with local societies working on green infrastructure.

  • Wroclaw – Małgorzata Bartyna-Zielińska Wroclaw City Gardener and urban planner | The role of the City Gardener in promoting and implementing nature-based solutions in Wroclaw

Wroclaw City is a co-leader in the Horizon 2020 GrowGreen project, demonstrating innovative nature-based solutions in cities. In Wroclaw, we also have started working on “Green Cards” which are intended as guidelines for city owned units such as schools, public spaces, investors and citizens explaining what nature-based solutions are, showing good examples and informing why and how to use these solutions. Other initiatives include City Council resolutions on greening/real estate tax decrease.

  • Vienna – Jürgen Preiss City of Vienna Environmental Department | Vienna’s Urban Heat Islands Strategy Plan and its implementation

MA48 Facade (Photo: Jürgen Preiss)

Projections suggest that by 2030 Vienna’s population will increase from 1,8 to 2 million, resulting in urban densification processes. Urban growth and the pressure on green infrastructure result in an increase of the temperature in cities, a phenomenon known as the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI). To combat this, Vienna’s Environmental Department and other partners from the city administration and external experts developed the Urban Heat Islands Strategy Plan.

As the UHI topic is a very cross section matter, new Teams have actually been established to reinforce programs for infrastructural adaptation to climate change and projects for accelerating the implementation of the UHI relevant measures.

Panel discussion and reflections from the audience