BIODES - Improving life in a changing urban environment through Biophilic Design

Mass urbanization presents one of the most urgent challenges of the 21st century. A fast growing percentage of the Portuguese population lives in urban areas. Quality of city life and the attractiveness of cities are key parameters for success in the global competition for growth. Key challenges for Sustainable Cities are to provide solutions to significantly increase cities' resource efficiency through actions addressing the mobility, climate change, water and air quality. Such actions should bring profound economic, social and environmental impacts, resulting in a better quality of life (including health and social cohesion), jobs and growth.

Portuguese cities already find themselves in a challenging context facing increasing risks associated with climate change, ageing population, economic burdens and global competition. Meanwhile the urban society faces serious problems of inequality and fragmentation. “Improving Life in a changing urban environment through Biophilic Design (BIODES)” aims to demonstrate in 'frontrunner' cities as 'living laboratories' innovative, replicable nature-based solutions (NBS) and upscale these solutions through their development and replication in the city Masterplans. The frontrunner city of Faro (Algarve region) and the follower city of Elvas (Alentejo region) represent different size cities developing under diverse socioeconomic conditions. The Regenerative Sustainability approach will improve wellbeing and city resilience in the long term.

BIODES proposes a multidisciplinary approach (social, economic, natural sciences) to analyze the current situation, implement case studies by interacting with local stakeholders/multiactors, evaluate the performance of existing NBS, identify potential opportunities for producing added value, designing realistic scenarios for the future improvement of environment, and test these scenarios in a changing world submitted to social, economic and natural trends. Expected impacts in the mid-term are the increased awareness of the benefits of renaturing cities the creation of a reference framework of NBS performance and enhanced stakeholder and citizen ownership of the solutions. In the long-term BIODES will increase international cooperation and global market opportunities and enhance implementation of EU environmental policies.

Partner institutions: Polytechnic Institute of Portalegre (Portugal)

CinTurs researcher(s): Thomas Panagopoulos (Principal Investigator), Ana Paula Barreira, Luís Loures, André Arvela and Dulce Antunes (FCT UAlg)

Budget UAlg: 210.623,92€

Total budget: 232.186,42€

Funding institution(s): FCT – Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology

Period: 2018 – 2021

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