NaTur i Byen / Nature in the City
– mapping and kickstarting a self-organizing network on Urban Nature in Copenhagen
We expanded global consciousness in the city on the value and potentials of urban nature. We created a network platform and carried out a bunch of workshops, walks, and even collective meditations.
By strengthening the bonds between actors who work professionally or are otherwise engaged with nature in the city in Copenhagen, we gave the whole field a boost, contributed to raising awareness of the qualities of urban nature, and connected a lot of actors across disciplines and practices. This led to more projects developing, new collaborations, and more talk on the pavement about green sprouts, city trees, clean water, air quality etc.
But it also meant that people could discover and connect across more special interests like the big one (especially in 2020): how do we make our cities healthier? or social engagement and sustainability-related to urban nature – getting maladapted kids on board a community garden or a nature exploration. Citizens and biodiversity. You name it, we covered it.
Having access to quality nature in cities does not only make the value of on real estate boom, it also improves our sense of well-being and our mental, biological, and social health. Nature in the city is intimately connected to and vitalizes cultural life. It builds better bonds between neighbours and colleagues. Still, many city leaders prioritise nature in the city much lower than for instance the resources that they pour into getting plots ready for sales and development.
Think about this: you have a shop, and all you do is sell everything you have. You never stop to redecorate, check the humidity in the room, see if the roof is leaking, make a better window display, or try to move up a notch by getting healthier, better products. What business are you in, then? That would place you in the quick-fix, mass stock sales business. Is that what running a city would be about?
We are happy and proud to say that our work with NaTur i Byen had a small impact in raising awareness around the value of nature in Copenhagen. And then, of course, the pandemic did its thing as well. But before 2020, we helped public institutions, NGOs, SMEs, researchers, and citizen communities discover each other and get inspired for new actions. This way, our network development also led to local innovation and potential for urban development.
We started NaTur i Byen in 2016, and leading processes through 2017 and the beginning of 2018, we grew an active network of 750 members. In 2019 before the pandemic put a bit things a bit on hold, we started developing the next phase of the project. This phase will be focused on locally focused boosts of knowledge and collaboration on urban nature, and on developing a master model for working with nature in other cities.
The project NaTur i Byen was created as a collaboration between Miljøpunkt Indre By & Christianshavn, Growing Pathways, Copenhagen University, and Life Exhibitions. It was supported with a 5 M DKK grant from Nordea-fonden in 2017-18.
Growing Pathways is in charge of network development, cultural mapping of urban nature actors, and leading the work for the next phase (check out the Domes of Life project!).
Network meeting between urban nature actors – a breakthrough across disciplines in Copenhagen – 2017
Exhibition in the metro, 2016
Discussions at a conference on urban nature, set up by Growing Pathways with Nature Center Vestamager, 2017
Exhibition in the Metro of Copenhagen including directions, Copenhagen – Life Exhibitions design