Future proofing cities: Climate resilient green infrastructure for biodiversity and human wellbeing co-benefits
Chair: Briony Norton
Co-chair: Helen Hoyle
Globally we are facing two major and interrelated challenges: climate change and biodiversity loss. These challenges are happening alongside growing mental and physical health problems in human populations. These challenges are synergistic in their effects, but there are opportunities for mitigation and adaptation measures using green infrastructure that similarly have multiple and synergistic benefits. This is particularly true and important in urban contexts where space is very limited but green infrastructure can provide valuable ecosystem services on people’s doorsteps. There is overwhelming evidence that the introduction and innovative management of green infrastructure in urban areas can support net biodiversity gain and positive human physical and mental wellbeing, and contribute to a more resilient urban environment in the face of climate change. Green infrastructure introduced in a manner that is ‘fit for place’ can mitigate extreme heat, sequester carbon, reduce flooding, and provide habitat for biodiverse communities. Challenges remain, however, in planning for and prioritisation of effective green infrastructure in high density urban areas.
The research supporting these ideas comes from across disciplines, and in each, there is increasing recognition of the complexities of the ways in which greenspace supports benefits, and the challenges in assessing trade-offs between benefits. Planning for multi-functional urban green infrastructure that benefits both people and biodiversity in the face of climate change requires inter-disciplinary dialogue. This session will provide an opportunity for such dialogue. In the session, contributors will explore the opportunities and challenges for evidence-based planning and implementation of green infrastructure that benefits both people and biodiversity, in the face of climate change. The focus and discussion will be on managing the synergies and trade-offs between prioritising for climate, well-being and biodiversity.