The trends are clear: by 2050, while 84% of the European population will live in urban areas, climate change will harm the health of European citizens. To address these challenges, we focus on promoting and innovating urban forests as crucial contributors to better and greener cities. Urban Forests (UF) are tree-based urban ecosystems and effective Nature-based Solutions (NbS) that help mitigate the effects of climate change while improving air and water quality, fostering biodiversity, enhancing people’s health and wellbeing, mitigating urban temperature and improving lifestyle of modern cities. Overall, they improve liveability and resilience in cities.
For these reasons and to meet their current changing and future needs, many cities across the globe are setting challenging urban reforestation targets. However, cities struggle with such targets due to their high related costs, the need for long-term citizen engagement and capacity of existing institutions to implement UF solutions. In addition, urban planning, forestry, arboriculture, and related fields have failed to provide interdisciplinary training and engage and support innovative public-private UF initiatives and trends. On the other hand, the demand for urban forestry practitioners who can provide the UF solutions will continue to grow with urbanization, climate change, and community needs.
Uforest (Urban Forest) is a three-year Knowledge Alliance project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission. The programme will create a cross-sectoral alliance that will connect often non-collaborative disciplines including urban planning, urban design, and architecture, with forestry and urban ecology, as well as with socio-economic and information and communication technology (ICT), in order to provide training and support to students and practitioners working toward innovative UF projects. The Uforest project and alliance aims at promoting Europe’s innovation capacity among universities, cities and businesses to deliver a new approach to Urban Forestry.
Uforest’s project will do so by:
> facilitating the co-creation, and flow of knowledge among universities, local authorities, and businesses coming from four key disciplines: urban landscape planning, forest ecology, socio-economics and, information and communication technologies;
> promoting a new, multidisciplinary and global blended training course and programme on Urban Forestry for both students and professionals;
> stimulating and activating entrepreneurship in students, researchers and professionals to provide public and private sectors with innovative and cost-effective UF solutions.
Starting in January 2021, it will primarily focus on the EU and Uforest partner countries of Italy, Spain, Romania, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden but will have a strong EU-global dimension and transferability potential, capitalizing on the existing national and international networks of the partnership.
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