The Belmont Forum, with the leadership of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is scoping for the development of a Collaborative Research Action (CRA) exploring how we plan, integrate and use our urban clue and green spaces as part of urban sustainability landscapes. Building on three expert scoping workshops, involving 106 experts including academic researchers at various career stages, policymakers and other stakeholders, with representation from Australia, China, France, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Türkiye and the UK, we are launching a public consultation – we want to hear from you! Provide your perspective by participating in our survey.
More than 55% of the world’s population live in urban areas, and in many countries the figure is much higher. Although the majority of us live in urban areas, environmental research in our towns and cities has tended to focus on solving specific problems, such as improving air quality or cleaning up contaminated land, rather than looking holistically at how to maximise the multi-benefits open spaces in urban areas provide. Green and blue open spaces, such as parks, rivers, lakes, and grass verges, provide essential ecosystem services in our towns and cities, including mitigating flood risk, improving air and water quality, reducing temperature, and providing a haven for wildlife. The aesthetic, cultural and recreational attributes of blue and green spaces also contributes positively to the health and wellbeing of urban populations.
Urban environments face different challenges across the Global North and Global South, as well as through differing stages of urban development. Through initial scoping workshops, some research questions needed to understand how green and blue spaces in these different urban areas could or should function were identified. Particular interest was expressed in understanding their ability to deliver multi-functional benefits, as well as how they can increase resilience to large scale challenges both on a national and global level.
Urban landscapes are shaped by a combination of geography, climate, economy, history and culture. A Belmont Forum collaboration will enable a comparative analysis of green and blue urban spaces in different parts of the world that have each been developed in a unique way, providing both whole systems understanding of the functioning of these spaces and the ecosystem services they provide, and knowledge of how local context influences these functions.
Join us as we explore how can we more effectively plan, integrate and use our urban blue and green spaces as part of the urban sustainability landscapes.
What do you think? What is needed? Where are the gaps? Contribute your thoughts today.
Public consultation closes Friday 2 September, 2022.