On the 18th of July, 2023, Anni Schwarz and Andrea Balestrini presented the first results of the JUSTNature project to the City Council. The policymakers grasp the project's objectives and the importance of Nature-base solutions, including green-governance and they were very interested in our idea of:
Green spaces of high ecological quality.
As observed by the deputy mayor and councillor for the environment, Katharina Zeller, "Urban green areas are a fundamental resource for sustainability and quality of life in the city because, in addition to aesthetic and recreational functions, they contribute to mitigating environmental pollution, improving cities' microclimate and maintaining biodiversity. To create ecologically high-quality green spaces with high biodiversity that contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change and equitable access for all social groups, the JUSTNature project provides a wide range of activities in Merano with the involvement of citizens and experts."
The wide range of activities in Merano consists of the participatory design of "Garden for All", the installation of the sensor to detect the heat island effect, detailed tree mapping through a Lidar scanning (carried out in February), and the development of a consultancy and training service on the ecological management of green spaces for the municipal gardening's staff, designers and private owners.
Guidance Document for the design of green areas
The Guidance Document for the design of green areas in Merano was presented to the municipality officers and designers in May 2023. We aimed to promote the design of NbS to municipal urban planning framework and constructive dialogues between designers and municipal officials, which increase the ecological value of greenery in building transformations", specified by Andrea Balestrini, together with Ruth Lochmann, JUSTNature project advisor of the municipality of Merano.
"Designing green in Merano – added Balestrini – means paying particular attention to balancing the ornamental quality and the use of historic greenery with the current needs of ecological performance, climate regulation and efficient maintenance. The preponderance of private green areas over all green areas in the urbanized municipal area (39% of the municipal territory consists of green areas, of which 31% is privately owned) makes this challenge even more challenging."
Public information evening in autumn
"Merano has a heritage of excellent public and private green areas but also an advanced regulatory apparatus. The Guidance Document developed within the JustNature project can provide an interpretative synthesis and integrate new ecological measures. In this autumn, an information evening will be open to citizens to involve in the design of ecological urban green areas", concluded the deputy mayor, Katharina Zeller.