Urban Klima 2050 underlines the importance of naturalising urban spaces at the Mutriku Ecology Conference


The LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050 project took part in the Ecology Conference in Mutriku on December 1, where it outlined the environmental, social and economic benefits of having green areas within urban centres.


The LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050 project was responsible for closing the Ecology Conference that took place in November and December in Mutriku. The 2022 edition was organised by Mutriku town council to help raise public awareness of the various challenges posed by climate change and the different tools available to us to mitigate and adapt to its effects.

After the talks given in November by geologist Antonio Aretxabala and AZTI technician Estibaliz Díaz, who has a PhD in Biology, on December 1 it was the turn of Iñigo Urrutikoetxea Alvarez, a member of the Urban Klima 2050 coordination team. His talk entitled 'Berdeguneen funtzioak hiri barnean' ('Functions of green areas in cities'), explained the importance of naturalising urban spaces and their positive impact on the environment, society and the economy.

After a brief analysis of the relationship between the general expansion of Basque urban centres over the last 150 years and the clear effects of climate change, Urrutikoetxea presented Nature Based Solutions (NBS) as “innovative, easy-to-implement solutions that make it possible for towns and cities to take on challenges such as urban regeneration and climate change”. He also pointed out that “these solutions can be applied at various scales of implementation (buildings, drainage systems, public spaces, transport infrastructures and even coastlines), contributing to a greener and healthier urban configuration”.

The recovery of the natural areas in the Tonpoi region of Bermeo and the future creation of flood areas next to the River Estepona in Bakio to reduce the risk of flooding, both of which are part of the Urban Klima 2050 project, are examples of these types of solutions aimed at improving the resilience of the region. The internationally renowned green belt around Vitoria-Gasteiz and the potential map of natural solutions developed for San Sebastian were some of the other many examples mentioned by Urrutikoetxea.

The talk ended with an analysis of the benefits associated with including green areas in urban centres, benefits which, as he pointed out, “not only affect the environment, but also people's physical and mental health, and their economy”. Along the same lines, he added that, “For example, towns and cities with a greater number of and better green areas contribute directly to improving water, soil and air quality, improving the connection of urban spaces, health and quality of life and enhancing land and property, among others”.