UoP leading on project about re-naturing cities

renaturing citiesIn the summer, a group of approximately 40 researchers from the UK and Brazil joined policymakers in Goiânia on a workshop about the renaturalisation of cities. This was part of the project Re-Naturing Cities: Theories, Strategies and Methodologies, led by Dr Fabiano Lemes, from the School of Architecture at the University of Portsmouth. Dr Silvio Caputo, also from the School of Architecture, and Dr Heather Rumble, from the School of Geography, were members of the workshop’s organising committee and participated as tutors. The project was funded by the British Council and Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa do Estado de Goiás (FAPEG), under the Newton Fund Researcher Links Programme.

Dr Lemes believes that cities face a seemingly unresolved paradox of equating urban population growth with the need to reduce our pressure on nature. He said: ‘we are moving from a global population of 7 billion people, of which more than half are urban dwellers, to one of 9 billion people of which 70 per cent will be urban by 2050. It is also known that increased urbanisation rates intrinsically lead to increased CO 2 emissions and diminished global ecological vitality. The answer to the fundamental question of how to accommodate more urban dwellers AND decrease our impact on the planet AND increase the presence of nature seem to be the holy grail of contemporary planning. There is, thus, a compelling need to investigate new perspectives and integrative approaches to urban and natural systems able to help cities address their social, economic and environmental needs in times of rapid volatility.’

The workshop not only enabled researchers to share expertise and build new knowledge, but also to work with policymakers to find ways to make positive transformations to their cities. Researchers came from a range of areas, such as urban ecology, town planning, biology, architecture, landscape planning and geography to propose multidisciplinary solutions to the problems of how to balance urbanisation with nature.

Dr Lemes also said: ‘It was a fantastic opportunity to gather together such a talented group of people from a range of disciplines to discuss and propose ways to make our cities more in-balance with nature. The results of the workshop are currently being translated into spatial planning ideas for the city of Goiânia, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with them.’

For more information, read the post on The Nature of Cities blog.

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