Over half of all people worldwide live in cities, and this figure will surely rise. Yet, cities affect their residents and the broader environment and thus a major planning challenge is transitioning to something less impacting while balancing all interests.
The EU-funded TURAS
(Transitioning to urban resilience and sustainability) project is working with urban stakeholders to face sustainability challenges. Interested parties, including 11 local authorities, have been developing, sharing and testing novel ideas relating to building urban resilience. Specifically, the consortium is addressing climate change adaptation and migration, green infrastructure building and urban growth. The 32-member group runs for 5 years to September 2016.
The latest development of spatial tools to support of the project's engagement with communities has resulted in the TURAS City Viewer. Other tools include on-line applications for urban communities, guidelines for local authorities and demonstration of novel innovations.
The team has established several field experiments and began feeding the results into real-world case studies. In particular, TURAS established the 'Green Living Room' – an experiment in urban green walls intended to provide habitat and comfort benefits. The project showcased and monitored the results. Similarly, the consortium set up and monitored the Barking Riverside green roof urban biodiversity experiment. Both are causing a lot of excitement and bring new ideas to the market.
In addition, the project created a series of spatial scenarios for urban neighbourhoods. This involved an extensive and exhaustive review, revealing that innovation at local government levels is not reflected in conventional sources. Instead, local activities are strongly documented in non-academic literature. To utilise such material, the project devised a set of case studies. The studies helped define 11 key mechanisms for adaptive management, plus practical ways of implementation. TURAS is also proposing regulations limiting or reversing urban sprawl, some already being adopted by local authorities. The many outcomes go to support policy formulation aimed at making cities more resilient.
The TURAS project is bringing together stakeholders in sustainable urban planning. Such work produces positive options for more liveable cities in the future.