The project foresees to deploy and test innovative self-produced NBS such as: plants for phytoremediation of water and soil, indigenous trees to combat heat island effect and air pollution, filtering and reinforcing plants for soft engineering interventions on canal banks and coastal dunes.
The targeted productive and demonstration sites are located in different districts, characterized by specific challenges, like the concentration of Roma community, unregulated urbanization, absence of public and accessible green spaces, flash floods risks, air pollution and heat island effect.
The Productive Parks are co-designed and will be co-managed by project partners with local citizens and stakeholders, including local associations, schools and university, while a People-Public-Private management scheme will be designed for their future maintenance and sustainability.
Social enterprises and start-ups will also be created to ensure market exploitation, further development and up-scaling of the Productive Parks.
The city is also facing rising temperatures as a consequence of climate change, leading to extreme weather events, such as heat waves that exacerbate the heat island effect in the most urbanized districts, where the perceived temperature raised 49 degrees Celsius in 2018.
The project aims also at solving the issues of shortage of public economic resources, lack of coordination among the different stakeholders and governance levels and dispersion of technical knowledge and specialized skills hamper the city’s capacity to address ecosystems' recovery and long-term maintenance of the green and blue infrastructures.
UPPER project will go beyond urban food production, that have already been tested in other cities (i.e. the UIA Open Agri project in Milan), by using vacant and underutilized land to self-producing NBS related technologies and services as a resource for social inclusion, jobs and skills development, social cohesion and local sustainable development
The proposed solutions would innovate the way in which NBS can be used to produce social benefits such as the inclusion of marginalized groups, mental health care and social cohesion. So far, these issues have been mainly addressed only through urban agriculture and community gardening.
Citizens are called to be protagonists in the planning and management of the urban green areas concerned. Residents and neighborhood committees, schools, associations, social and sports centres, as well as social and commercial enterprises have to take part in co-planning, participatory evaluation activities, and management of public parks
This is why co-design laboratories have been scheduled during the project and the first two took place during the year.