The health of natural ecosystems is crucial to the health of cities and urban populations. From essential services like water purification, flood control and climate regulation to a range of physical and mental health benefits, societies thrive by building a strong connection to nature.
Biodiversity loss and ecosystem changes are a reality in our urban world. They have occurred more rapidly in the last half-century than any other time in human history as a result of urban sprawl, pollution and climate change. In our rapidly urbanizing world, nature is pushed increasingly to the periphery, often resulting in irreversible loss.
With urban areas at the center of our future, integrating nature into urban development and planning is crucial. Local and regional governments across the global ICLEI network are taking this forward. Through INTERACT-Bio, a four-year project in Brazil, India and Tanzania, nine cities are reshaping their current urban landscapes and development plans with nature. The project is designed to strengthen institutions and encourage integrated, interdisciplinary thinking and coordination across all levels of government and jurisdictional boundaries.
In Campinas, Brazil, for instance, city and ICLEI technical staff are supporting the preparation and implementation of a multifunctional nature connectivity area comprising all 20 municipalities within the metropolitan region. This is building on an already established program, which aims to recover and conserve regional fauna and flora through ecological corridors. Through a series of technical workshops, conferences and meetings, Campinas is also actively engaged in developing the regional urban development strategy, bringing a nature-based development lens to the conversation.
Picture: Campinas’s downtown as seen from Torre do Castelo (‘Castle Tower’) belvedere.