The first of a series of responses from participants at the 2015 European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference (EUGIC) in Vienna. Here Peter Massini of the Greater London Authority gives his personal reflections on the conference.
EUGIC was an important conference because it was the first where the fully-fledged concept of green infrastructure (or nature-based solutions) in Europe was the topic of discussion. Previous, similar conferences have been focused on specific aspects of green infrastructure such as green roofs, parks, biodiversity or trees.
EUGIC confirmed my view that we have to be presenting a more holistic, integrated argument about the services provided to cities by elements of the natural environment and constructed features such as green roofs and rain gardens. The intrinsic value of nature may be what inspires us, but it is the benefits that green infrastructure bestows to people and the city economy that will convince those who have to make difficult decisions about the future of our cities across Europe.
Co-design, multiple benefits, smart cities and natural capital must be part of our future narrative. EUGIC showed that we have a collective endeavour and much to gain from a collaborative approach to learning and advocacy.
In that spirit I hope you find something that will be of use to you in the recently published Natural Capital which sets out the case for how we might further develop the case for green infrastructure in London.
Peter Massini, Principal Policy Officer – Green Infrastructure, Greater London Authority