How can engagement between communities and planning processes assist the implementation of nature-based solutions in city centres?

Ireland, as elsewhere in the Europe, is becoming increasingly urbanised, with consequent environmental and social pressures. The literature reveals the connection between public health, well-being and nature, however, it also reflects concerns that urbanisation is quantitatively and qualitatively diminishing possibilities for human contact with nature and may be particularly acute within impoverished, inner city neighbourhoods. Nature-based solutions, including green infrastructure, for sustainable urbanisation, are being promoted nationally, and at EU level, but with little understanding of how urban communities engage with nature and how to implement them.

My research in the School of Transport Engineering, Environment and Planning, DIT is exploring how urban communities engage with nature-based solutions, how they engage with planning and development processes and how they might influence their implementation. It will adopt a mixed methodology and will include a comprehensive review of the literature pertaining to nature-based solutions in the urban core, their benefits for communities and how communities engage with it; a candidate case study area had been identified (Dublin’s North East Inner City) and will involve documentary analysis, the identification of sub-groups within the residential and business community, direct observations and quantitative and qualitative surveys. It will provide a toolkit for planners, policy-makers and communities for the implementation of nature-based solutions in our inner cities.

Dara Carroll

Urban Green Infrastructure