Valencia is located on Spain’s eastern Mediterranean coast, and is the country’s third city demographically and economically. Its climate is characterised by hot summers and little rainfall. Climate change predictions suggest that higher temperatures, less rainfall and more extreme weather events are likely.

Valencia’s nature-based solutions demonstration project to tackle heat stress is located in the Benicalap-Ciutat Fallera neighbourhood of the city, which has high-levels of unemployment, an ageing population and deteriorating infrastructure. Several nature-based solutions are being tested. A vertical garden installed at a local school provides temperature regulation and soundproofing, and also filters the wastewater from the school’s sinks and showers. A local senior centre is also now fitted with a green roof, which helps to reduce heat in the building and store rainwater. A small forest with nature-based solutions to manage rainwater and a green-blue corridor to link existing green spaces are under development. These solutions will provide shade and improve ventilation, as well as helping rainwater to soak into the soil. A mobile app helps local people to learn about plants and wildlife in Valencia and a ‘solidarity basket’ will connect food producers and consumers. These ideas are all designed and implemented collaboratively with the residents of the neighbourhood. Their outcomes will be monitored over the years to come.

The outcomes of these demonstration projects, as well as an analysis of existing plans and strategies, will inform the development of a new strategic approach for nature-based solutions across the city.

Objectives: Expected impacts:
• To demonstrate the potential for nature-based solutions to reduce heat stress, manage water and provide other co-benefits. • Reduced heat stress and better management of rainwater in the neighbourhood of the demonstration project.
• To engage local people in designing nature-based solutions that meet their needs. • An improved environment for the local population, including cooler streets and buildings, as well as better habitat for wildlife and a diversity of vegetation.
• To develop an effective strategy for nature-based solutions across the city. • Increased awareness and understanding of nature-based solutions amongst the local population.
• A strategic basis for further development of nature-based solutions across the city.

Key outcomes / results

• A participatory process called #MésVerdBenicalap (#GreenerBenicalap) engages citizens in designing and implementing nature-based solutions. Several collaborative workshops have taken place, including a contest for green ideas and public family days.
• Construction of the green wall was completed in October 2019 and of the green roof in June 2020.
• Information panels in the neighbourhood and information brochures inform local people about the nature-based solutions in their area.
• The GrowGreen app was launched in March 2020, which will soon be used in local schools to inform and involve the students in the nature-based solutions projects.