Improved urban parks increase communities’ climate resilience

Start Park, a project led by citizens from Florence, Italy, has won “Most advanced idea” at the global Climathon Awards 2020. The prize rewards the team that has improved the most since taking part in a previous Climathon: a city-based 24-hour ideathon organised by EIT Climate-KIC, where citizens are invited to brainstorm solutions to lessen the impact of the extreme weather events their city is already facing or will have to face in the near future.

Born out of Climathon 2017 in Florence, Start Park aims to broaden the role of environmental architecture in redesigning urban parks so they become key elements of the city’s adaptation strategy. By including the residents in improving the design of these parks, the initiative aims to simultaneously raise climate awareness in the population. 

The team from Florence is composed of environmental architects, engineers, innovation experts, anthropologists, designers and contemporary art curators. Their idea is to use nature-based solutions to improve the design and architecture of urban green spaces.  

Nature-based solutions (NBS) are interventions that work with nature to address societal challenges, providing benefits for both human wellbeing and biodiversity: think green roofs, community gardens or wetland restoration. NBS are one of the most interesting tools for climate change adaptation. They can respond to specific risks related to climate change driven by changes in rainfall patterns, such as the increase in flood, droughts and heat island events, as well as biodiversity loss and water quality deterioration in rivers.  

The Start Park team came up with their idea to answer the Climathon organisers’ question: “How might citizens and local actors contribute to raising the city’s resilience to tackle the more and more frequent extreme climate events?”. Their suggestion: To develop a public/private service that would foster the creation of widespread urban parks – using NBS – that could trigger the community’s climate resilience, both inside households and in the urban space.  

After two years of research on climate change, urban resilience and citizen participation, the collective developed the multi-purpose Start Park concept: an urban green area whose infrastructure and services are dedicated to water reuse, drainage and supplemented by activities to raise climate awareness in the local community. 

Start Park already received two rounds of funding of €25,000 by winning Designscapes, a Horizon 2020 project that aims to build capacity for design-enabled innovation in urban environments. The team started to develop their first prototype in a green area in the Soccorso district of Prato, in Tuscany, in 2019. In the process, they invited citizens (local neighborhood committee, primary school students and parents, artists, activists), but also professional designers, social innovators and NGOs to participate in a workshop to imagine and design a Start Park in a green residual area of the city. In 2020, the team agreed to start replicating their concept in the city of Lucca, another commune of Tuscany. 

“We are already in the process of liaising with a number of stakeholders hoping to connect the socio-cultural and the economic value that could derive from the infrastructural work of a Start Park,” says Marco Berni, one of Start Park team members. “And we are in contact with public authorities to identify funding opportunities for the realisation of the two first co-designed Start Parks in Prato and Lucca.”

The team is now developing a toolkit to allow other cities in Europe to replicate the Start Park prototype and measure its impact. Winning Climathon 2020’s “Most improved Idea” gives them the opportunity to continue developing their idea with the support and mentorship of Microsoft’s Worldwide Sustainability Community. 

 
Location
Italy
Related Goal
Goal 2: Nurture nature-based resilience for cities
Articles you may be interested in
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC welcomes opportunity to unlock trillions for climate adaptatio...

The European Commission has opened a call for feedback...

EIT Climate-KIC welcomes opportunity to unlock trillions for climate adaptation and mitigation
In The News
As a crucial vote on EU plastics policy looms ahead, a vision of creating circ...

The European Parliament will vote in Plenary today to...

As a crucial vote on EU plastics policy looms ahead, a vision of creating circular economies and societies emerges
In The News
A day dedicated to the future with world-renowned speakers

When science fiction meets economics Created in 2012, Edgeryders...

A day dedicated to the future with world-renowned speakers
In The News
Branch Magazine wins Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity

Branch Magazine, a collaboration between EIT Climate-KIC, Mozilla Foundation...

Branch Magazine wins Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity
In The News
Cross-KIC project to boost circular economy in Western Balkans

The circular economy concept is of crucial importance to...

Cross-KIC project to boost circular economy in Western Balkans
In The News
Exploring new horizons with Pioneers into Practice

Enrolment is now open for placement hosts and participants...

Exploring new horizons with Pioneers into Practice
In The News
Circular bioeconomy start-up receives €2 million from European Innovation Co...

EIT Climate-KIC supported Lixea (formerly Chrysalix Technologies) has received...

Circular bioeconomy start-up receives €2 million from European Innovation Council Fund
In The News
Embracing a new approach to climate change in Moldova

Moldova is one of Europe’s most modest contributors to...

Embracing a new approach to climate change in Moldova
In The News
Krakow: transforming the city towards climate neutrality

Poland’s former capital and one of its oldest cities,...

Krakow: transforming the city towards climate neutrality
In The News
Is Europe doing enough to tackle climate change?

On 23 April, EIT Climate-KIC CEO Kirsten Dunlop spoke...

Is Europe doing enough to tackle climate change?
In The News
EU Commission publishes sustainable finance taxonomy

The European Commission has published its EU-wide classification system for...

EU Commission publishes sustainable finance taxonomy
In The News
New European Bauhaus: what kind of future do you want to live in?

On 22 and 23 April, the first conference dedicated...

New European Bauhaus: what kind of future do you want to live in?
In The News
Estonian innovation to help stabilise grid as renewables increase

EIT Climate-KIC supported Estonian start-up Sympower has raised €5.2...

Estonian innovation to help stabilise grid as renewables increase
In The News
Five EIT Climate-KIC community members in Forbes 30 under 30 list

Twelve entrepreneurs from across the EIT community have been...

Five EIT Climate-KIC community members in Forbes 30 under 30 list
In The News
These eleven organisations are building a greener Europe

Google, in partnership with EIT Climate-KIC, launched the €10...

These eleven organisations are building a greener Europe
In The News
New equity crowdfunding programme unearths cleantech start-ups

Found by us, funded by you, a new start-up...

New equity crowdfunding programme unearths cleantech start-ups
In The News
From start-up to 100-person industry player in 18 months: air up is launching ...

It’s a beverage revolution: Healthy hydration while fooling your...

From start-up to 100-person industry player in 18 months: air up is launching in new markets
In The News
#TurnItAround: an event for all climate solutions seekers, suppliers and enabl...

As part of the fifth SDG Global festival of...

#TurnItAround: an event for all climate solutions seekers, suppliers and enablers
In The News
New EIT initiative to boost innovation in higher education

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is...

New EIT initiative to boost innovation in higher education
In The News
Just transition within reach for Polish coal city Rybnik

“We are preparing plans for the next decade. Mentality is...

Just transition within reach for Polish coal city Rybnik
In The News
Inclusive guide helps communities build urban resilience

The new Urban Action Kit, launched by the International...

Inclusive guide helps communities build urban resilience
In The News
Climate app among DigiEduHack 2020 global finalists

The DigiEduHack, supported by EIT Climate-KIC as well as...

Climate app among DigiEduHack 2020 global finalists
In The News
GreeMko receives Climate Reality Project Award in Spain 

GreeMko (for Green Management Technology), a Spanish start-up that...

GreeMko receives Climate Reality Project Award in Spain 
In The News
What’s the future of trade in a climate crisis?

EIT Climate-KIC Chief Executive Officer Kirsten Dunlop addressed the...

What’s the future of trade in a climate crisis?
In The News
Wanted: Green business ideas to fix climate change

Starting today, the seventh edition of the global green...

Wanted: Green business ideas to fix climate change
In The News
Why sustainable water management needs a systemic solution

Ensuring that fresh water is available, in a sustainable...

Why sustainable water management needs a systemic solution
In The News
Integrating nature with technology to strengthen climate adaptation

The European Commission released the new EU Climate Adaptation...

Integrating nature with technology to strengthen climate adaptation
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC is a key player in helping Europe adapt to climate change

EIT Climate-KIC welcomes the new EU strategy on adaptation...

EIT Climate-KIC is a key player in helping Europe adapt to climate change
In The News
Edinburgh: building climate resilient infrastructure and communities

A labyrinth of cobblestone streets, dimly lit and presided...

Edinburgh: building climate resilient infrastructure and communities
In The News
Residents of Kessel-Lo, Belgium, are invited to shape the future of their neig...

EIT Climate-KIC is working with the city of Leuven...

Residents of Kessel-Lo, Belgium, are invited to shape the future of their neighbourhood