Nature in the city: Green solutions for healthy, resilient and sustainable cities

The link between social well-being, mental health and green cities is very strong, we need to use this data more effectively in our efforts on promoting nature-based solutions
Eva Mayerhofer, Lead Environment Specialist at the European Investment Bank

Today the world population stands at 7.7 billion. In the next 30 years it is expected to grow by a further 2.9 billion – equal to adding another China and India. By 2100, according to the latest UN projections, humanity is expected to have developed into an almost exclusively urban species with 80-90% of people living in cities.

While cities bring opportunities such as jobs, education and healthcare, they also bring challenges of pollution, congestion, crime, habitat loss, water and waste management. If urbanisation occurs at a massive scale, it can lead to social instability, undermining the capacity of cities to be environmentally sustainable and economically successful.

Water challenges will increase in Europe in the coming decades. Under the extreme warming scenario – which will lead to decreased water availability and increased water demand – the number of people affected by too little or too much water could rise to 295 million, nearly half of the European population.

GrowGreen is working to address these challenges and the opportunities facing urban areas and aiming to create green cities to improve livability, sustainability and business opportunities. The GrowGreen conference, held in Manchester, UK from 26 to 27 March 2019, brought together city representatives, investors and business to connect, share experiences and find joint solutions for financing green cities.

“When we get the ‘right mix’, the implementation of nature-based solutions can be integrated at concept stage and their delivery results in a combination of socioeconomic benefits, improvements in health and wellbeing, and increases in asset values.”
Tony Williams, President, International Federation of Landscape Architects European Region, IFLA Europe

Learn more about how the GrowGreen conference contributed to tackling these challenges with nature-based solutions here.

Shorthand written by Claire Warmenbol, IUCN Water Programme Communications Coordinator
This post was first published by IUCN.