• EU City Lab on Public Procurement for More Local, Seasonal and Sustainable Food

    Join us in Liège to learn how public procurement can become a leverage for more sustainable local food systems! 


    The EU City Lab on Local Food Systems #2 is a knowledge-sharing event co organised by URBACT and the European Urban Initiative (EUI), with support from the host municipality of Liège (Belgium). It will take place from 29 to 30 May 2024. 


    The event will focus on Public Procurement for More Local, Seasonal and Sustainable Food. Through discussions and knowledge-sharing, thematic sessions, “walkshops” and group activities, the event aims to explore how public procurement can become a leverage for the sustainability transition of local food systems in European cities. 

     


    This City Lab is a unique opportunity to:

     

    - Find out how Liège succeeded in learning from peer cities and adopting new Good Practices in the field of collective school catering, as part of the URBACT BioCanteens#2 Transfer Network

     

    - Discover the approaches experimented by other EU cities to foster public procurement as a leverage of sustainability in local food systems.

     

    - Visit sites in Liège and exchange with locals about citywide food sustainability, citizen engagement actions and learning communities

     

    - Improve your understanding of the EU landscape around local food systems

     

    - Bring back home inspiring lessons and concrete tools to spur transformation in your city

     


    The event will gather city representatives and urban policy experts from across Europe working on the green transition of local food systems.  


    Register now to join [u]s in Liège!

     

    … and stay tuned for the event’s programme and more practical information to prepare your participation. 

     

     

    The Liège event is the second in a series of three EU City Labs on Local Food Systems:

     

    - The EU City Lab #1 on Changing Habits for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System took place in Mouans-Sartoux, France, on 21-22 March 2024.

     

    - The place and date of the EU City Lab #3 on the Sustainable Land Use for Agri-food will be announced soon.

     

     

     

    Preliminary programme (download it here: English)
    Eu City Lab Liège - preliminary programme

     

     

     

    1ere version du programme de l'événement

     

     

     

    Belgium

    Join [u]s for the EU City Lab on Local Food Systems #2 by URBACT and European Urban Initiative!

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  • EU City Lab on Changing Habits for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System

    Join us in Mouans-Sartoux to learn how habits’ transformation can lead to a healthier and more sustainable urban food system!

     

    The EU City Lab on Local Food Systems #1 will take place in Mouans-Sartoux, France, on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 March 2024. It is a knowledge-sharing event co‑organised by URBACT and the European Urban Initiative (EUI), with support from the municipality of Mouans-Sartoux.

     

    This EU City Lab lab will focus on Changing Habits for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System. Through discussions and knowledge-sharing, thematic sessions, “walkshops” and group activities, the event aims to explore how transformation of food habits can leverage systemic sustainability transition in European cities.

     

     

     

    The lab is a unique opportunity to:

     

    - Learn more about the Mouans-Sartoux’s Good Practice in the field of collective school catering

     

    - Explore how other EU cities followed Mouans-Sartoux’s example through the URBACT BioCanteens and BioCanteens#2 Transfer Networks

     

    - Discover further good practices implemented by other EU cities to foster sustainability in local food systems

     

    - Visit sites in Mouans-Sartoux and exchange with locals about citywide food sustainability, citizen engagement actions and learning communities

     

    - Discuss how local projects towards more healthy and sustainable food habits can be put in place in different national contexts

     

    - Better understand the EU landscape around food systems.

     

     

     

    The Mouans-Sartoux event will be the first in a series of three EU City Labs on Local Food Systems, exploring systemic food transition in European cities from different thematic perspectives. The next labs will be organised in the course of 2024:

     

    - Public Procurement for More Local, Seasonal and Sustainable Food – Liège, Belgium, 29 and 30 May 2024

     

    - Sustainable Land Use for Agri-food (place and date to be unveiled soon).

     

    Click here to learn more on the EU City Lab series. 

     

     

     

    Here is some practical information to organise your trip to Mouans-Sartoux and prepare your participation. 

     

     

     

    Preliminary programme (download it here:  English  |   French)

    (Please click on the arrow to switch to page 2)

     

     

     

    *Meals during the EU City Lab programme are offered.

     

    How did the Mouans-Sartoux EU City Lab go? To find out:

     

    -- Read the article: Petroli, C., E. Timsit, B. Eibl and N. Candoni, 5 bite-size morsels for cities to transform local food systems, 10 April 2024

     

    -- Download the event slides

     

     

    Do you wish to learn more about URBACT cities' past work on building sustainable local food systems? Visit the URBACT Knowledge Hub on Food and read the following articles:

     

    Just released: 

     

    -- Jégou, F., Feeding change: Cities empowering healthier and more sustainable food choices, 1 March 2024

     

    On the BioCanteens Transfer Network journey and the Mouans-Sartoux Good Practice:

     

    - Jégou, F., Food purchase is an agriculture act!, 8 November 2022

     

    - Jégou, F., BioCanteens#2: cities engaged for food democracy and sovereignty, 13 October 2021

     

    - Copying neighbours. Lessons of BioCanteens Transfer Network. Final publication of BioCanteens#1, June 2021. 

     

    On URBACT work in the field of healthy and sustainable local food systems and the European and international background:

     

    - Bonneau, M., Cities nurturing local food systems to fight climate change, 10 November 2021 (updated on 21 December 2023).

     

    - Bonneau, M., Let's talk about food!, 24 August 2022

     

    - Bonneau, M., Reinforcing local food ecosystems: a recipe for success?, 9 October 2020

     

     

    France

    Join [u]s for the EU City Lab on Local Food Systems #1 by URBACT and European Urban Initiative! Scroll down to discover the programme of the event and register now!

    URBACT Programme
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    • Participative governance
    • Food
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  • New beginnings: the start of a journey

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    Group picture of +50 attendees to the Kick-off meeting in Avilés in front of a modern building (Niemeyer Center) in Avilés
    22/02/2024

    On the 24th and 25th of October, the first transnational meeting of the In4Green network was held in the heart of Avilés, bringing together representatives from 10 industrial cities in Europe

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    A deep dive into Avilés’ industry

    On the morning of the first day, the meeting kicked off with an insightful symposium which provided a comprehensive understanding of how collaboration, innovation, development, and social cohesion converge to form the backbone of Avilés’ industrial success. The round tables delved into the city's unique model of public-private partnership, highlighting the existent synergies between public bodies, social partners, and private companies.

    The first round table, titled "Avilés Model for Economic Development, Sustainability, Employment, and Social Cohesion," provided a comprehensive overview of how Avilés has successfully integrated innovation and sustainable development into its industrial fabric.

    The second round table, focusing on Avilés' public-private collaboration with leading companies, showcased real-world success stories. Industry leaders from ArcelorMittal and IDONIAL R&D Center shared how these partnerships are driving innovation and pushing the boundaries of industry standards in Avilés.

     

    5 speakers of the first round table discussing

     

     

    Shared dreams, diverse cities

    All the partners of the In4Green network are united by a common commitment: to lead transformative change within European industry and strive for a greener future. Nonetheless, our cities are well aware that, to achieve this goal, they must overcome their specific local challenges and forge their paths towards a green transition.

    Based on the findings of the Lead Expert of the Network, Jose Costero, during the initial study visits to the network cities, a participatory session was held. The local challenges, good practices and learning needs of each city were identified and shared, and all attendees had the chance to discuss their expertise and background in relevant topics such as circular economy, energy transition, digitalization and investment attraction.

     

    Exploring possibilities

    Sharing and transferring successful industrial models among the cities of the network is a fundamental part of the mission of In4Green. For this reason, several study visits were organised in order to showcase Avilés’ best practices and initiatives.

    The study visits included explorations of the Renewable Energy Exhibition (NorteRenovables), IDONIAL Foundation, and ArcelorMittal. Partners had the opportunity to connect with relevant stakeholders and experts in the field and gain a better grasp on the strengths of Avilés’ industry first-hand.  

     

    Great Things Await

    The kick-off meeting marks a promising first step for the implementation of network. In4Green partners returned to their cities with insights, knowledge and an even stronger motivation to shape sustainable industries and work towards the green transition.

    But the journey has just begun: in the months and years to come, the network will continue evolving and striving for a better change in the industry sector. The path ahead seems challenging, but it will pave the way for the generations yet to come.

  • Sipping coffee in Sligo: How a commitment to community and attention to detail turned things around for downtown—one cup at a time

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    Members of the Cities@Heart network
    06/12/2023
    07/12/2023


    The year is 2013 and few residents of Sligo, Ireland have heard of a BID, or Business Improvement District. Stakeholders in the local commerce sector operated independently and seldomly in cooperation with the County Council. Fast forward to December 6, 2023 when a group of 26 individuals from ten different countries all over Europe touched down in Sligo to glean best practices for city centre management. Sligo’s remarkable success story provided a fitting backdrop for the first transnational meeting of the Cities@Heart URBACT Action Planning Network.

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    Members of the Cities@Heart network and meeting attendees

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    Formed in 2023 and piloted by the Greater Paris Metropolis as Lead Partner, the network Cities@Heart brings together 10 different local governments working to create tools for the improvement of city centres. The first network-wide gathering since the URBACT IV launch in 2023, this transnational meeting was a new step in the network journey, an opportunity to exchange and to observe the policies of host partner Sligo County Council and Sligo Business Improvement District. Following 10 different Baseline Study Visits conducted by Lead Expert Mar Santamaria Varas, this meeting also represents the network’s shift from the preparatory to activation phase.

    Network Map

    Meeting in the Land of Heart's Desire

    The first transnational meeting provided project partners the opportunity to obtain feedback on their baseline study visit in the form of the presentation of an overarching methodology to ground the study and set the course for the following two years of inter-european collaboration.

    To kick off the first morning of workshops, participants shared their experiences in the realm of public-private partnership. In Krakow (PL), the city approached the Wesoła District’s revitalization with workshops on prototyping solutions for shared spaces to build a sense of community and responsibility for its development among citizens. In Celje (SI), a vacant storefront was left to the use of local stakeholders, providing a successful brick-and-mortar testing ground for new ideas or projects. Back in Sligo, the public-private partnership has proved to be fruitful: the business perspective encourages an objective data-driven approach and the public sector can intervene to implement holistic policy improvements.

    Project partners participating in a morning workshop

    If we can make it in the city centre, we can make it anywhere

    A city centre is a microcosm of social functions and represents the most intricate iteration of urban complexity. While each project partner experiences their city centre in a different way, the network Baseline Study represents the structure of all city centers using a matrix contrasting 7 challenges with 5 indicators.

    From metropolises like Greater Paris (FR) or Krakow (PL)  to smaller cities like Fleurus (BE), for each partner, the diverse challenges may be more or less acute depending on the local context and the means available. Indeed, an imbalance in one of these topics or challenges can greatly aggravate the local context in the city centre, as evinced by the diagrams below.

    Network tool

    To showcase Sligo’s strengths and best practices, the meeting focused on the management of data and local commerce in the city centre. Sligo is a lovely town nestled in a blustery corner of northwest Ireland, minutes from the Atlantic Coast and known for being a literary “land of heart’s desire” with poet W.B. Yeats as a native son. Yet, none of these attributes bring to mind words like “innovation” or “world renowned”. Public policy in Ireland is centralised in Dublin and towns “west of the Shannon” are considered out of the purview of the national stage. In fact, Sligo had historically been “left behind” by urban development schemes deployed elsewhere in the Republic of Ireland.

    Urban solutions with a human approach

    This brings us back to the coffee anecdote… After living and working abroad in the U.S.A. and Australia, Sligo native Gail McGibbon decided to return home. In order to start what would become Ireland’s fourth BID, Gail McGibbon went to work in a seemingly slow way: meeting for a cup of coffee with likely every single business owner in the town, having no other overt objective than sharing a chat. In her seminal work, The Death and LIfe of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs posits, “there must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street." While this declaration has taken on a “big brother” connotation since the book’s publication in 1961, the principle rings just as true today. In every city centre, there is a need to be aware of what is happening in the street and with our neighbors or shopkeepers to make sure all are safe and provided for. Indeed, neighborliness proved to be the perfect ingredient to kick-starting the town’s transformation.

    As Chief Executive Officer Martin Lydon explained, in a post-pandemic society, Sligo is leveraging cultural shifts to become a destination for young professionals, students and families seeking proximity to nature and a high level of services. Looking to attract a pool of potential inhabitants keen on finding property in the more affordable western coast of the country, Sligo has invested in a place branding campaign, infrastructure to increase connectivity and the tourism sector, inaugurating their National Surf Centre and a network of cycle paths.

    Turning the local economy around

    Now in 2023, the Sligo BID is healthy and counts 758 members. The BID and Sligo County have worked together tirelessly to introduce innovative measures for data collection, property management, tourism policy and event nightlife. Sligo has developed a Welcome Ambassador Programme, won the Purple Flag Award for night time economy, the label of Coach Friendly Destination and continues to attract international visitors curious about the town’s policies. In the end, Sligo’s shortcomings would eventually become strengths. The lack of urban sprawl meant that the town and county could promote closeness to nature and life at a human scale. The local counter-culture turned out to be a good thing for the health of the town’s high street district.

    Project partners visit the city centre


    The human-ness at the origins of Sligo’s strategy is well reflected in the national Irish Town Centre First strategy which is based at the LGMA and places pragmatism and open dialogue at the forefront. One of the measuring tools of the programme, the Town Centre Health Check Programme, is a public document that serves as an objective evaluation of the town’s progress in implementing best practices. National Coordinator Mairead Hunt presented the country’s policy at the transnational meeting in Sligo and highlighted three core principles: understanding the place, defining the place and enabling the place. The national meeting of Town Regeneration Officers shies away from speeches by elected officials and focuses on peer-to-peer learning.

    Soft approach, hard data

    And yet, Sligo’s strategy didn’t stop at a friendly chat. The county and BID got to work monitoring, measuring and adapting their strategies. Brían Flynn, Town Regeneration Officer, presented the town’s creative use of data in developing their policies. In 2023 the Irish business platform GeoDirectory released data on commercial vacancy in the country. At 25.4%, the rate in Sligo was listed as the highest in the country. In order to curb the negative press and further investigate the truth behind this report which seemed incomplete to local officials, the town decided to collect its own data in the form of a comprehensive land-use policy survey. The study is still being carried out but the town has already gained valuable knowledge on the vacancy profile of downtown property and 16 landowners have discovered the national Croí Conaithe scheme for refurbishment of vacant buildings.

    Brían Flynn presents Sligo’s data policies

    In turn, after witnessing Sligo policies first-hand through a series of site-specific visits and presentations, the network conducted a workshop on the subject of information gathering to address issues all along the chain of data management: identifying data sources, collecting data and data governance. While obtaining data can be simpler than expected, data-driven policy requires vision and advanced planning in order to identify independent sources of information and a successful, manageable tool for translating data into actionable proposals for city improvement.

    Network partners enjoy a performance of traditional Irish music at the Tourism Bureau

    An inaugural meeting for the network and for new URBACT participant Sligo, the event was opened by Cllr. Gerard Mullaney, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council and attended by Irish National URBACT Point Karl Murphy and Kristijan Radojčić of the URBACT Secretariat. The meeting was drawn to a close with a hike to glimpse the breathtaking vistas at the summit of the Knocknarea rock formation, providing a bird’s eye view of the Atlantic coast and the Sligo town centre.

    Network partners hike the Knocknarea rock formation

    With one meeting completed and the new year well on its way, the URBACT Cities@Heart network has three transnational meetings planned in Granada (ES), with the Quadrilatero Urbano Association (PT) and in Cesena (IT). Ensuing transnational meetings and those of Urban Local Groups (ULGs) will allow the network to share learnings and experiment small-scale actions over the next year.

    Network members :

    • The Greater Paris Metropolis, France
    • The City of Cesena, Italy
    • The City of Granada, Spain
    • The City of Osijek, Croatia
    • Amfiktyonies, a business development organization representing the City of Lamia, Greece
    • The City of Celje, Slovenia
    • The City of Fleurus, Belgium
    • The City of Sligo, Ireland
    • The Krakow Metropolis Association, Poland
    • The Quadrilátero Urbano Association, Portugal

     

     

  • One Health 4 Cities

    LEAD PARTNER : Lyon - France
    • Suceava - Romania
    • Eurometropolis Strasbourg - France
    • Kuopio - Finland
    • Loulé - Portugal
    • Lahti - Finland
    • Benissa - Spain
    • Elefsina - Greece
    • Munich - Germany

    Timeline

    First transnational Core meeting on 14-16 November 2023 in Lyon, France.

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    Lead Expert

     

     

    The One Health 4 Cities network aims to promote the integration of the One Health approach into urban strategies and projects. It intends to develop tools that empower decision-makers and operational teams to increase the positive impact of urban projects on the well-being and health of people, animals and environment.

     

    Cities in action for Human, Animal and Environmental health
  • GreenPlace

    LEAD PARTNER : Wroclaw - Poland
    • Nitra - Slovakia
    • Vila Nova de Poiares - Portugal
    • Boulogne sur mer Développment Côte d'Opale - France
    • Löbau - Germany
    • Cehegín - Spain
    • Bucharest Metropolitan Area Intercommunity Development Association - Romania
    • Onda - Spain
    • Quarto d'Altino - Italy
    • Limerick - Ireland

    Timeline

    First Core Network meeting on 26-27 September in Wrocław (Poland)

     

    a group of people standing on the Market Square in Wrocław

    Lead Expert site visits in September in Limerick (Ireland) and Loebau (Germany)

     

    a group of people standing in the Town Hall, Loebau, Germany

    Lead Expert site visits in October in Quarto d’Altino (Italy), Bucharest Ilfov (Romania), Nitra (Slovakia), Vila Nova de Poiares (Portugal)

     

    a color photo of a group of people standing on an empty street. In the background ruins of an old building surrounded by trees

    Lead Expert site visits in November in Cehegin (Spain), Onda (Spain), Boulogne sur mer Développement Côte d’Opale (France)

     

    a color photo of four people smiling, holding a string in an office

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    Lead Expert

     

     

    GreenPlace is an URBACT network consisting of ten partners who aim at developing a set of activities for "recycling" unused urban areas, using social participation tools. The project takes into account not only the regional specificities and conditions of each of the partners but also introduces greenery as a key factor in limiting climate change in urban areas. 

     

    GreenPlace
    Restoring “forgotten” urban areas into valuable places FOR and WITH residents
  • Cities for Sustainability Governance

    LEAD PARTNER : Espoo - Finland
    • Braga - Portugal
    • Gabrovo - Bulgaria
    • Košice - Slovakia
    • Tallinn - Estonia
    • Valencia - Spain
    • Jablonec nad Nisou - Czech Republic
    • Agios Dimitrios - Greece
    • Mannheim - Germany

    Timeline

    First transnational meeting on 15-16 November 2023 in Tallinn, Estonia. 

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    • 9 Cities – 9 Stories: Cities for Sustainability Governance

      Nine European cities pioneer Sustainability Governance to close the action gap towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

       

      “Cities are as strong as their communities”. This was one of the main lessons drawn by Lead Partner coordinator Ville Taajamaa, responsible for 2030 Agenda work in the City of Espoo, after the first in-person meeting of the Cities for Sustainability Governance (CSG) network held in Tallinn, 15-16 November 2023. “After hours and hours of crunching expert urban sustainability talk, work and walk, the most important thing we had in our mind was our citizens. How cool is that!”, he concluded.

       

      For 2.5 years, nine partner cities – Agios Dimitrios (Greece), Braga (Portugal), Espoo (Finland), Gabrovo (Bulgaria), Jablonec nad Nisou (Czech Republic), Kosice (Slovakia), Mannheim (Germany), Tallinn (Estonia) and València (Spain) – will join forces to discover and design how ‘sustainability governance’ can answer to the well needed renewal of commitment, trust, action and hope, to achieve the world we want by 2030.

       

      Workshop Tallinn

      Stina Heikkila

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    Cities are urged to set ambitious ecological goals for climate and biodiversity while managing social and economic sustainability. No European city has yet achieved the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), although they are a great fit for cities to develop their governance. There is an “action gap” between the ambitions set and what is being achieved. Cities for Sustainability Governance (CSG) will use the SDGs as a vehicle for implementing strategic urban governance and deliver on the promise of transforming our world, as set out in the UN 2030 Agenda.

     

    Holistic sustainability through strategic use of SDGs
  • COPE

    LEAD PARTNER : Copenhagen - Denmark
    • Kavala - Greece
    • Pombal - Portugal
    • Bistrița - Romania
    • Saint-Quentin - France
    • Coruna - Spain
    • Korydallos - Greece
    • Vilnius - Lithuania

    Timeline

    Core Network Meeting in Korydallos/ Greece.

    COPE Online Network workshop: Online tool 

    CORE Network Meeting in A Coruña/ Spain

     

    Lead expert and Lead Partner event in Paris

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    A green and just transition in cities is key to achieving carbon neutrality in Europe by 2050. The COPE (Coherent Place-based Climate Action) network will unlock the green potentials of citizen action through a place-based approach, recognizing citizens and local action groups as fundamental stakeholders working to accelerate the green transition. By actively engaging communities that have traditionally been left out of climate action, COPE increases the scope and impact of municipal policies.

    Coherent Place-based Climate Action
  • U.R. Impact

    LEAD PARTNER : Cinisello Balsamo - Italy
    • Bielsko-Biala - Poland
    • Bovec - Slovenia
    • Broumov - Czech Republic
    • Hannut - Belgium
    • Kamëz - Albania
    • Longford - Ireland
    • Mértola - Portugal
    • Murcia - Spain
    • Târgu Frumos - Romania

    Timeline

    First transnational meeting on 4-6 December 2023 in Cinisello Balsamo, Italy.
     

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    Lead Expert

          

    U.R. Impact focuses on addressing a key policy challenge: to develop effective strategies for empowering local communities during processes of urban regeneration. The goal is to prioritize social impact and community-based practices by reimagining the way urban regeneration actions are conducted. This entails placing citizens and their social and ecological well-being at the core of the strategy, and defining a methodology for collective decision-making and civic participation in local urban regeneration strategies. 
    Stakeholders will be involved to contribute to the definition of what can be considered indicators of positive social impact of urban regeneration projects, modeled on the different territories of the partnership.
    By prioritizing social impact, with a focus on community involvement, urban regeneration actions are rethought by placing citizens and their social, economic and environmental well-being at the center of the processes. It also allows for an increased sense of belonging and civic participation.

    Prioritising social impact in urban regeneration
  • BiodiverCity

    LEAD PARTNER : Dunaújváros - Hungary
    • Vratsa - Bulgaria
    • Veszprém - Hungary
    • Poljcane - Slovenia
    • Laboratório da Paisagem - Portugal
    • Cieza - Spain
    • Siena - Italy
    • Limerick - Ireland
    • S-Hertogenbosch - Netherlands
    • Bosnia-Herzegovina

    Timeline

    First Transnational meeting in s-Hertogenbosch (NL) on 14-16 November 

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    Lead Expert

     

     

    In ten European cities URBACT Local Groups will work out community-based approaches to valorise, measure and account biodiversity and related ecosystem services. The BiodiverCity partners will support and enable communities to plan powerful nature-based solutions, foster pro-environmental citizen behaviours and draft Urban Greening Plans, contributing to the achievement of the EU Biodiversity Strategy as well.

    Community-based approaches to foster urban biodiversity