Making nature-based solutions work for all: avoiding green gentrification

Thursday, 16 February 2023 - 16:00 to 17:30 (Europe/Brussels) (Europe/Brussels)
Webinar online

Whether urban gardens, new parks, redeveloped waterfronts or green roofs: Green and blue infrastructures provide recreational opportunities, filter pollutants and contribute to urban biodiversity. At the same time, they can help to cushion the consequences of heat waves and heavy rain events. Thus, they are without doubt an alternative in the context of the worsening climate crisis. Their share in cities must increase drastically.

The renaturing of a city should be of benefit to all residents, first and foremost to vulnerable neighbourhoods. Unfortunately, the opposite can be the case. There are more than a few examples in which greening projects contributed to the displacement of residents – through increased rents or inflated property taxes. Instead of benefiting, people had to leave their homes reinforcing spatial and social inequalities. These processes are known as “green gentrification”. They can happen intentionally but also unwantedly and despite the best planning intentions. One of the main drivers is often the private market-driven real estate sector. At the same time, cities tend to use greening projects for branding themselves as “green cities” – in order to attract tourists and investors. This in turn can again favour displacement processes.

How widespread is green gentrification and which different forms are existing? What can municipalities do to anticipate those developments and take action against them? How can local governments deal with private investors and what are the limitations of local actions? And how can local alliances between local governments and their communities prevent or revert green gentrification processes?

In our seventh CITIES TALK NATURE webinar, we discussed these and further questions building on the recently published GOLD VI Report on Pathways to Urban and Territorial Equality, developed by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) in partnership with the Knowledge in Action for Urban Equality (KNOW) research consortium.

Presentations & Speakers:

  • ENLACE Project Caño Martín Peña | Estrella Santiago Pérez, Environmental Affairs Manager of the Corporación del Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martín Peña, San Juan de Puerto Rico

  • Barcelona Superblock: a city model | Rosa Lopez, Principal Architect for “Superilles” Public Spaces, Urban Strategy Services Department of Barcelona

  • Pathways to urban and territorial equality | Anna Calvete Moreno, Research Officer at United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and Camila Cociña, Researcher at the Human Settlements Group of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

  • Discussion together with Isabelle Anguelovski, Director of Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability (BCNUEJ)

Recording of the webinar (English):