Nature's comeback: Creative approaches to boosting urban biodiversity

14 March 2023

The Scandinavian Green Roof Institute (SGRI) organised the Digital Blue Green Event on 14 March 2023. This was the third instalment of this event series and it aimed at providing the space for initiatives and projects working on blue and green solutions in urban areas to discuss new insights. The event was divided in two parts, with the first focusing on strategies for urban biodiversity, and the second exploring biosolar roofs. 

SGRI took the opportunity to present the winner of the Scandinavian Green Roof Award for 2022 for both extensive green roofs, won by A Working Lab project in Gothenburg (Sweden), and for intensive green roofs, won by The Social Spine project in Copenhagen (Denmark). The event proceeded with presentations from professionals working on pathways for enhancing urban biodiversity.

NICHES project coordinator McKenna Davis attended the event and presented the project to a variety of stakeholders working on urban green and blue solutions to climate change and densification. Her presentation focused on nature-based solutions (NBS) and their potential for improved water management and biodiversity conservation. 

NICHES’ structure as a project was presented, its funding scheme, duration, diversity of partners, as well as case-study city approach with the five NICHES cities: Rotterdam, Barcelona & its Metropolitan area (AMB), Boston, Berlin, and Sheffield. Stakeholders and practitioners had the chance to learn about NICHES’ primary aim, namely exploring the mitigation and treatment potential of combined sewer overflow (CSO) events through NBS and the consequential positive impact on aquatic ecosystems. 

NICHES project coordinator shared the current urban water management challenges and hindrances to change such as siloed policy and planning, top-down governance structures, short-term oriented grey solutions to issues, focus on treatment rather than prevention, and limited consideration to local contexts. Ms Davis also presented NICHES’ innovative approach focusing on offering solutions to water management challenges through a social-ecological-technical systems (SETS) lens. Furthermore, NICHES’s commitment towards science-society-policy exchange was emphasised through the project’s reliance on NBS evidence, novel methods and models, co-development of transition pathways, and stakeholder engagement for more tailored policy changes. 

Other presentations of the event focused on ways of promoting biodiversity in urban planning, pathways from installation to success of green roofs, core principles of green infrastructure, tools for measuring the performance of ecosystem services from green roofs, photovoltaic systems, the value of vertical solar panels (VPV), and more. 

To watch the recording of the event visit the SGRI website