Partnering up for greener cities: GREEN SURGE Dialogue Forum series continues in Bilbao – University of Copenhagen

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Partnering up for greener cities: GREEN SURGE Dialogue Forum series continues in Bilbao

Urban green infrastructure decision-makers, researchers and private sector stakeholders will come together in Bilbao (Spain) to explore local government strategies of partnering with private sector actors to lead urban development in a greener direction. The event will be held in Bizkaia Aretoa, Bilbao (Spain) from 14:00 to 18:00 on 26 April 2016 and is free of charge.

Image copyright: Growing Trees Network

Image copyright: Growing Trees Network

This topic links in with recent project research into successful ways cities have integrated private development interests into their wider green infrastructure strategies to merge the two parties’ goals into a combined, greener path. Aarhus (Denmark), for example, implemented an innovative and wide-reaching strategy to accomplish its objectives of protecting drinking water, establish more outdoor recreational areas, protect the natural environment and boost biodiversity. The strategy engaged the Aarhus Water company, private farmers and gardeners, a local golf club, municipal and private foresters and the Danish Nature Agency to protect groundwater from pesticides and afforest the area.

In London, the intersection between policy, advocacy and expertise provides a setting for the private sector to implement a comprehensive urban green infrastructure development such as in the case of the city’s green corridor project “Wild West End.” Supported by the Mayor of London and the London Wildlife Trust and enabled by the City of London’s pro-green infrastructure policies, private developers are linking existing parks via a network of green spaces. The project will add over a hectare of additional green space to the city centre. Some of London’s successful experiences of co-operation between public sector and private sector actors will be explored during the event in Bilbao.

This event is the second in the “Stakeholder Dialogue Forum” series of the GREEN SURGE project. At the first Stakeholder Dialogue Forum in Brussels in September 2015, urban green infrastructure practitioners from Edinburgh, Utrecht, Milan and Berlin shared the strategies and solutions they employed for and with citizens to change their cities for the greener. GREEN SURGE researchers contextualised the case presentations with research insights into citizen engagement, multifunctionality and social inclusion in urban GI planning.

The Stakeholder Dialogue Fora provide cities with access to the latest cutting-edge project research. City representatives exchange their experiences of challenges and achievements and the open and exploratory format helps to bridge the gaps between research theory and city representatives’ experience of practical implementation. Furthermore, cities have the opportunity to discover and exchange the strategies their peers have successfully employed to implement urban green infrastructure development in their cities. The conversational context facilitates comparisons and reflections on the similarities and differences between individual city contexts.  Meanwhile, project researchers benefit from access to cities’ input and perspectives.  

The Forum is a pre-event to the 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns for which Forum participants benefit from a reduced registration fee. Stakeholder Dialogue Forum participants are also welcome to join the conference’s evening reception on Tuesday 26 April.