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Berbera Urban Regeneration: Green park

Where: A Berbera, Somaliland

Organization: UN-Habitat

Intergovernmental Organization (UN)



Berbera has a very dry climate, marked by high variability, low precipitation, very high temperatures, extreme weather events and strong dusty winds. There have been environmental degradation and habitat fragmentation as a result of deforestation, erosion, droughts and unsustainable agriculture, these have led to habitat loss.

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Chengdu Park City Indicator System

Where: Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China

Organization: UN-Habitat

Intergovernmental Organization (UN)


Creating Chengdu as a Park City involved a new city strategy, linking environmental dimensions with culture, services to citizens and economic growth. With a plan that runs into the middle of this century, Chengdu’s strategy is to create a more sustainable urban environment with an improved quality of life, resulting from protected biodiversity and heritage, reduced energy consumption and carbon footprint, and enhanced services for the city’s 16.5 million inhabitants.


UN-Habitat’s initial contribution to the project involved researching park cities around the world to analyse parallel experiences and producing a collection of international best practice. A ‘Park City Indicator System’ was then developed by UN-Habitat, allowing Chengdu to monitor and evaluate its project by assessing it against five dimensions of people, place, planet, prosperity and participation.


In line with the United Nation’s ‘Decade of Action’ and demonstrating a commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, Chengdu has created a Park City Demonstration Area in Tianfu New Area to challenge traditional urban development and present a new paradigm of creating cities within parks. The whole Tianfu New Area is aimed to re-create an ecological skeleton, networks of blue and green spaces and rebuilding the relationship between man and nature. A collection of biking and walking trails are developed that will eventually connect hundreds of parks across the metropolitan area. Eventually, it will form the world’s largest green path network at 17,000 kilometres long.


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Donghu greenway

Where: Wuhan, China

Organization: UN-Habitat

Intergovernmental Organization (UN)



Twenty five percent of the land area of Wuhan is covered by water. Donghu is the most iconic and nationally protected. Before the construction of the Donghu greenway, residents did not benefit from this ecological resource: the area was not easily accessible to the public and the scenic areas within the site were not well connected. The high park fees and poor directions within the park also hindered access. There was a lack of activities and adequate service facilities; too many vehicles posed safety concerns to pedestrians; the water quality of East Lake was also declining.


Wuhan’s vision was a city that is beautiful where people and nature co-exist in harmony. The aim was to provide citizens with more access, improved, ecological and inclusive public leisure space and improve the living standard of residents of the Greenway.

Donghu Greeway was the first project under the UN-Habitat demonstration project for China's urban public space improvement in collaboration with Wuhan Land Use and Spatial Planning Research Centre (WLSP).


The greenway took a Transit Oriented Development approach, people-oriented slow mobility solutions, variety of solutions to enhance urban biodiversity, multiple applications for purifying lake water through natural means and the provision of public amenities adjusted to people’s needs. Renewing existing informal settlements without resettlement but focusing on converting their informal economy towards new services.


After its implementation, the number of visitors increased from 94,000 tourists in 2015 to more than 10 million in just two years leading to job creation and local economic development of the area. The greenway was open to all for free and led to many events and recreational activities being organized. The roads were given back to pedestrians, which increased the number of cyclists and promoted walking. After ecological restoration, the total number of trees increase by 53 thousand, the total repaired area is about 10 square kilometers with 10.2 Km of motor way removed and 34km of shoreline recovered with improved water quality.


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EcoZones: Catalyzing transformations from the neighborhood scale

Organization: Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy

Research Institutions

Where:  Santa Tereza neighborhood (Belo Horizonte/Brazil)

San Enrique de Velasco and Iñaquito neighborhoods (Quito/Ecuador)



EcoZones are a practical concept to implement integrated low-cost and low-carbon solutions to urban climate and sustainability challenges based on community needs and holistic-systemic urban planning for green recovery and climate change mitigation at the neighbourhood level. The Wuppertal Institute, together with UN-Habitat and partners, use participatory methodologies and offer a scale for experimentation to increase the understanding of and support for linkages between sustainable and resilient urban mobility, public spaces, nature-based solutions and waste management in local development. This project is set in two pilot cities: Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and Quito, Ecuador.


The EcoZone approach seeks to empower citizens to have an impact in local their community, raise awareness around and increase the collective knowledge of sustainable urban development and its socioenvironmental impacts. Implementation is composed of the following elements:


1.Context-based: Building on the needs and ongoing activities of local stakeholders

2.Participatory: Interventions are co-designed and implemented with citizens

3.Multi-stakeholder and intra/inter-institutional approach: Connecting different stakeholders working on similar projects to identify synergies

4.Neighbourhood level: Working on small-scale pilots at the neighbourhood level that are low-cost, participatory and easily replicable at larger scales

5.Intersectoral: Integrating different sectors for a higher impact and understanding of climate change mitigation and adaptation

6.Circularity: establishing circular city functions and services, and innovative business models, creating an effective framework for urban regeneration.

7.M&E: Monitoring and evaluating the impacts of the implemented activities to adapt, improve and replicate the pilots. A comprehensive assessment to convert temporary interventions into permanent ones that include community approval is carried out.


The EcoZones to be implemented include the following dimensions:

Mobility & public space

A tactical urbanism approach is a great tool to reclaim space from cars for pedestrians and cyclists at the neighbourhood level, and provide them with safer spaces for commuting and recreation. This can also raise awareness within the community about the environmental, health, social and economic benefits of non-motorised transport.


COVID-19 mitigation measures

COVID-19 has deeply challenged urban mobility and economic systems worldwide. However, sustainable alternatives for public and private motorised transport have emerged in cities around the globe through a focus on walking and cycling. These allow for physical distancing, and strengthen population health.

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

The EcoZone framework was designed to harness and implement NbS at local scale, reducing environmental impacts while helping surrounding areas to improve urban resilience in the face of climate and natural disaster risks. In selecting adaptation/DRR options, ecosystem solutions are usually more adaptive, cost-effective and easier to maintain, and provide more value to society compared to conventional solutions such as built infrastructure.


Waste Management

Within the EcoZone concept, local stakeholders engage with communities to increase awareness for source separation and support initiatives working with circular principles and highlighting the value of waste, like neighbourhood composting programmes, upcycling and recycling initiatives. It explores synergies, for instance by applying innovative sustainable mobility solutions to waste collection, or through placemaking activities integrating aspects of awareness-raising around recycling.


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Knowledge Sharing platform of Nature-based solutions (NBS)

Organization: Urbanalytica

Civil Society Organization / Non-Governmental Organizations

​Where: San José, Costa Rica & Milan, Italy.


The two contexts involved are:

1. The Great Metropolitan Area of Costa Rica (GAM) that represents 4% of the National Territory, yet concentrates 60% of the population (2.72 million inhabitants). Even though it benefits from many of the country's milestones regarding Sustainable Development (a vast trajectory in Environmental Policymaking, a 100% renewable energy matrix, an ambitious plan of Urban Parks, worldwide referent of biodiversity preservation) it experiences a paradox within its Urban Agenda (carbon emissions from the transport sector, unplanned urbanization, and urban infrastructure vulnerable to climate shocks, poor mobility and transport infrastructure, lack of safe public green areas).

2. The Metropolitan city of Milan, capital of Lombardy and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome (3.25 million inhabitants), where most of the country's infrastructure, economy, and workforce concentrates, yet affected by unsustainable urbanization and mobility patterns, critical air pollution levels, and vulnerable to external shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also a city with ambitious policies and plans developed within the European recovery and innovation framework, especially regarding nature-based solutions, sustainable mobility, and urban recovery.


Description: Nature-based solutions (NBS) have proven to be powerful tools for addressing climate change effects in an urbanized area while fostering low-impact and low-cost recovery in the light of the current planetary crisis. However, there is a challenge how to develop feasible and replicable strategies in regions in the global south, such as Latin American where there is a lack of data, resources, and technological tools.


The proposed platform aims to provide expertise sharing between two contexts that are experiencing strong urban transformations: Costa Rica, a worldwide referent on Sustainable Development in the process of bringing this know-how into its urbanized areas; and Milan, transitioning into a smart sustainable city within the European recovery and innovation framework. The platform would facilitate a bi-directional knowledge transfer, in order to develop replicable and scalable NBS strategies. For this, current partnerships are developed with local organizations, public institutions and the Academia.


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