Glasgow is to join a group of 11 European cities in the Cities with Nature group, a unique initiative that recognises and enhances the value of nature in and around cities.
Hosted by ICLEI (Local Governments for sustainability) it provides a shared platform for cities and their partners to engage and connect. London and Manchester are the other UK cities in the group.
Joining Cities with Nature means that Glasgow will have access to the knowledge hub; possible collaboration partners around the themed activity, the first of which is Cities with nature for health. Cities with Nature has 128 member cities in 45 countries.
The thinking behind Cities with Nature is the use of nature-based solutions.
What are nature-based solutions? One definition – from the European Commission – defines these as solutions that are, ‘inspired and supported by nature, which are cost-effective, simultaneously provide environmental, social and economic benefits and help build resilience.’
Some examples of these in Glasgow include the city’s Open Space Strategy – which will help Glasgow adapt to climate change, create a more attractive urban environment, and improve air quality – and schemes across the city which deal with flooding, unlocking land near water for homes and development, and stalled spaces projects such as pop-up gardens, growing spaces and wildlife gardens.
Glasgow is expected to host a Connecting Nature summit in May 2021, when the member cities will showcase – to 500 delegates from around Europe – what is being done in terms of climate adaptation.
Councillor Anna Richardson, City Convener for Sustainability and Carbon Reduction at Glasgow City Council, said:
“Becoming a member of the Cities with Nature Group will allow Glasgow to share with and learn from our partners on how we can best use nature-based solutions to improve the city not only environmentally, but economically and socially. Given the current and future impact of climate change, it is vital that we use these solutions to mitigate the impact, and work with and foster nature where we can to improve our quality of life.”