The ENABLE project brings together a diverse, multi-disciplinary group of partners from North, South, West and Central Europe and North America to investigate how to unlock the full potential of GBI. It will test possible GBI solutions to urban challenges in the metropolitan regions of Halle, Barcelona, Łódź, Stockholm and Oslo, while also exchanging with the city of New York.
Most cities around the world are interlaced with green and blue infrastructure (GBI) and benefit from the wide range of ecosystem services it provides. In an increasingly urbanized world, GBI has the potential to tackle multiple environmental and social challenges, such as human wellbeing, social inequality, biodiversity loss and climate change impacts such as flooding. However, the successful design and implementation of GBI requires careful consideration of a number of key aspects, including people’s perceptions of the benefits of GBI, barriers to the equitable distribution of benefits and strategies for making the flow of benefits resilient.
The ENABLE project adopts a transdisciplinary approach to investigate the role GBI can play in tackling the social-ecological challenges facing cities, taking into account how these key aspects interact and influence the performance of green or blue solutions.
ENABLE brings together a diverse, multi-disciplinary group of partners from North, South, West and Central Europe and North America to investigate how to unlock the full potential of GBI. It will test possible GBI solutions to urban challenges in the metropolitan regions of Halle, Barcelona, Łódź, Stockholm and Oslo, while also exchanging with the city of New York.
The ENABLE approach:
ENABLE adopts a unique systems approach to addressing complex social-ecological challenges. It aims to develop and test new methods and tools to leverage the potential of GBI interventions in neighbourhoods and across metropolitan regions while adopting a social and environmental justice perspective and taking into account the perceptions of local stakeholders.
ENABLE has three core objectives:
- To advance knowledge of how to implement Green and Blue Infrastructure in order to unlock its full potential.
- To create an assessment framework and develop new analytical tools and approaches for evaluating performance and resilience of Green and Blue Infrastructure.
- To identify and mainstream Green and Blue Infrastructure solutions in European urban areas
ENABLE will test possible Green and Blue Infrastructure solutions to urban challenges in the metropolitan regions of Halle, Barcelona, Łódź, Stockholm and Oslo, while also exchanging with the city of New York.
Together with local actors in the case study cities (e.g. municipal political representatives, urban planning departments, citizens, civil society organisations, local businesses, parks and green space managers, land owners, urban developers) ENABLE will examine three key questions related to GBI:
- How and under what conditions are the benefits provided by GBI most appreciated by people?
- How accessible are GBI benefits, and how are they distributed among urban residents?
- How can the continuation of GBI benefit-flows be secured in the long-term?
Urbanisation is a process of change, and hence any solution to promote the flow of GBI benefits needs to be resilient over time. ENABLE will create continuous exchange across disciplines to develop knowledge on the systemic linkages and the contextual factors, such as local drivers of change and governance arrangements, that determine the impact of GBI solutions in the case study cities. The project will organize capacity building workshops, webinars and multi-stakeholder meetings to create opportunities for learning and to foster collaboration within and between the case study cities and other cities across Europe. This will support more effective urban planning and decision-making, design and implementation of GBI, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable urban future.
Figure1. Overview of ENABLE: work packages (WPs) and project organisation.
WP X: Project management
WP 1: Framing an integrative approach
WP 2: Case study conditions and co-design workshops for identifying local policy solutions
WP 3: Cultural perceptions and values associated with green and blue infrastructure
WP 4: Access to benefits
WP 5: Resilient supply of ecosystem services and biodiversity support
WP 6: Communication, outreach and inter-project collaboration and engagement
The project will adopt the definition of GBI provided by the European Commission:
“Green infrastructure is a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services such as water purification, air quality, space for recreation and climate mitigation and adaptation. This network of green (land) and blue (water) spaces can improve environmental conditions and therefore citizens’ health and quality of life. It also supports a green economy, creates job opportunities and enhances biodiversity.”