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The New Urban Landscape Alliance

The New Urban Landscape Alliance, is a working group to raise awareness of the capacity of urban landscapes to address the climate emergency at three scales: global, urban, human. 

New Landscape Alliance

Researchers

  • Professor Kathryn Moore
  • Professor Martha Schwartz, Harvard University Graduate School Of Design
  • Dr Anastasia Nikologianni 
  • Dr Alex Albans (University of Warwick)
  • Dr Robin Daniels (Redpill Group Ltd)
  • Edith Katz (MSP)
  • Martin Rein-Cano
  • Silvia Ribot
  • Dan Ringelstein
  • Neil Thomas
  • Steve Velegrinis

Advisors

  • Greg Kats Smart Services Coalition

Supporters

  • Jane Findlay
  • Francesca Frontera
  • James Hayter
  • Colleen Mercer Clarke
  • Ceylan Belek Ombregt
  • Peter Wirtz

Research background

The New Landscape Urban Alliance (NULA) is proposing the establishment of an international working group of academics and practitioners within the New European Bauhaus to work collaboratively in order to raise the profile of the capacity of urban landscapes to address the climate emergency at 3 scales: global, urban, human.

NULA will builds on the work being undertaken by the West Midlands National Park Lab at BCU, the climate change agenda pursued through the GSD Dept of Landscape Architecture Harvard, and connects with the agendas of numerous professional, academic and funding networks in Europe..

Research aims

The aim is to influence and teach decision makers at the highest level through two interrelated initiatives.

  • Create The European Mayors' Roundtable, an initiative to bring together five-to-eight mayors from across Europe, with six+ experts in the Built Environment who will come to the 'table’ to discuss specific issues that need to be addresses in their cities. The NULA will invite six professionals who will work with the mayors as each mayor presents a ‘problem’ they are facing in their city.
  • The NULA will commission a report to revive the process of establishing an International Landscape Convention (ILC) and set up a high level engagement process with new and existing networks, including the NULA European Mayors Round Table to make evident and support the interpretation and application, through landscape, of the United Nations' sustainable development goals 2030, the New Urban Agenda, the UNESCO Cultural 2030 Indicators (2020) and other relevant international commitments.
    The NULA will build a portfolio of case studies based on an integrated and holistic approach to landscape to illustrate the application of the ILC in practice.

How will the research be carried out?

The initiative builds on research and practice undertaken at Harvard since 2016 and CATiD since 2005. It is led by two internationally renowned academics and practitioners of landscape architecturein collaboration with extensive international networks of influential supporters. and advisors from a wide range of disciplines and professions.

The NULA will apply for funding for technical support to set up the infrastructure of its meetings and for its related research activities. 

Solutions

Reconnect people with their landscape, support and protect the everyday landscape that is so often overlooked in the development process and yet is vital to the identity, culture and health of local communities.

Redefine and develop new landscape led approaches to regional design supported by new financial, governance and institutional structures.

It is only through Landscape Architecture we can design for “Climate Readiness” through our abilities to re-envision, re-plan, re-engineer and re-design a city’s public realm landscape. Nature Based Solutions (NbS) are 75 percent of the Climate Change Solutions Thus NbS, along with the integration of technologies, are incredibly important when planning or designing our cities.

Through raising the importance of NbS we can also explore ways to galvanize the support of a range of cross sectoral institutions, organizations, and their members to persuade UNESCO to develop formally, an International Landscape Convention.

Urban Land Planning will be on a mission to find more open spaces within cities given increasing population and demographic shifts, cities will need to plan for new typologies of spaces. Mayors will have to provide more outdoor spaces in the event of pandemics and heatwaves.

Also, many cities will need places for migrant housing, catchment areas to manage storm water, areas for Urban Afforestation to mitigate UHIE, agricultural gardens, and, of course, spaces for humans. We will need to re-appropriate urban land to accommodate for flexibility, and for new, unforeseen future challenges delivered by climate change.

Climate scientists, as well as other scientist who specialize in botany, biodiversity, ecology and soil, will be an essential collaborator in defining the likelihood of the impacts and solutions that that a city may be facing in another 50-100 years. A science-led projection into the future will define a mayor’s goals for each city.

This will be an essential discussion within the discourse of the New Urban Landscape. It will be essential that cities institute greening their cities through inserting real Green Infrastructure in the form of living ecosystems at an urban scale.

These ‘systems, such as Urban Afforestation, plus other multiple uses and design of NbS, can diminish Urban Heat Island Effects and many other issues cities will be facing soon, including CO2 MITIGATION, through cooling, protecting urban biodiversity, mitigating flooding and drought, and the development of urban agriculture, as well as the provision of:

  • Public health
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Clean air and oxygen
  • Public parks and plazas
  • Access to food and water
  • Protect / rebuild coastal zones
  • Cooling the city, diminish need for energy
  • Green “Emergency” spaces in the event of pandemic
  • Space for inward migration and flexibility in the future
  • Social justice and climate equity through urban afforestation
  • Smaller, more liveable, walkable communities such (the 15 Minute City)
  • Repurpose, redesign of Public Right-of-Ways to insert working ecological systems
  • Beauty, health, happiness and a higher ‘quality of life’ in accordance with the UNFCCC

Outputs

Outputs will include:

  • Postings on the New EBH website Reports of the Mayors sessions, recorded information and ideas that have been generated through the meetings, which address present and future issues within the built environment
  • Expert presentations on climate change, the background science, the effects and large-scale solutions including nature-based solutions, climate intervention technologies and the need for a mechanism to protect the everyday landscape.
  • A ‘web’ of connections to other experts from discussions and trading information within the mayors group
  • Expert presentations about new approaches to regional design and the financial, and institutional and governance shifts needed to address the global challenges
  • A programme of engagement to develop the International Landscape Convention

Intended outcomes and impact

  • Reports and publications.
  • A substantive programme of thelandscape led planning and re-planning of cities for climate resilience, health and wellbeing
  • The valueand significance of the land to address climate changeand other global challenges isevident in policy, action and professional discourse.
  • Evident recognition of the capacity of landscape to support the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals 2030, the New Urban Agenda, UNESCO Cultural 2030 Indicators (2020) and other international environmental commitments and other organisations within the UN.
  • Widespread adoption of new landscape led approaches to regional design as part of the c limate
  • An international landscape convention supported by nation states, professional and civic institutions
  • This work will support the delivery of the West Midlands National Park, provide a great resource for BCU students and increase the opportunities for academic and professional collaborations around the world.