LatinaSustainable use of land and nature based solutions
UPPER - Urban Productive Parks for the development of NBS related technologies and services
Thanks to UPPER, Latina will finally be able to live an integral development process with a clear project of recovery, protection and management of the territory. With this ambitious project, we are turning the challenge of green infrastructures maintenance into an opportunity for job inclusion, well-being and space livability for our citizens, especially the most vulnerable. UPPER Productive Parks will go beyond urban agriculture, by using vacant and underutilized land to self-producing nature-based technologies and services as a resource for social cohesion, ecosystems recovery and sustainable economic development. A solution that leaves no one behind and allows local communities to play a leading role in urban innovation.
The city of Latina is affected by multiple and interrelated urban challenges. In the past 50 years, the fast urbanization led to unregulated exploitation of common land and natural resources, with the establishment of dormitory neighborhoods . The availability of accessible green areas per inhabitant is insufficient (12.6 sqm per person), the existing city parks are underused due to lack of security, adequacy and maintenance, while abundant wasteland and brownfield should be reconverted.
Additionally, the fragile ecosystem of city canals and rivers suffers from high concentration of water pollutants and hydrogeological risk due to the lack of maintenance. The city is also facing extreme weather events, such as heat waves and flash floodings, with several roads and bridges collapsing.
Furthermore, a wide range of socio-economic challenges arised, particularly long term unemployment and inactivity (the youth unemployment rate is 43%), brain drain towards other regions (70% of graduates leaving the province), illegal exploitation of migrants, social exclusion of both ethnic minorities (mainly Roma people) and persons with disabilities.
Shortage of public economic resources, lack of coordination among public and private actors as well as dispersion of specialized skills hamper the city’s capacity to address ecosystems' recovery and long-term maintenance of its green and blue infrastructures.
UPPER project will test an innovative use of urban green areas, by creating the first urban Productive Parks devoted to research, development and self-production of Nature Based Solutions (NBS) to tackle the identified environmental, socio-economic and governance challenges. UPPER project proposes a wider approach to the concept of NBS, which will include greenery and green infrastructures on one hand and innovative outdoor services and activities (social care, inclusive jobs, training, education, sports, creativity and entertainment) on the other hand.
The solution foresees the regeneration of three misused urban areas which will serve as Productive Parks, plus eight Demonstration Sites for the deployment and testing of the self-produced NBS (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 Productive Parks will be co-designed and co-managed by project partners with local citizens and stakeholders, while a People-Public-Private management scheme will be designed for their future maintenance and sustainability.
Furthermore, UPPER will test a collaborative initiative based on the participation of public and private landlords (the Green Areas Bank) to meet the demand and offer of the self-produced NBS. A job & skills programme for vulnerable citizens is integrated in the whole cycle of self-production, installation and provision of NBS to the city.
Finally, the project will support the creation of social enterprises and for profit startups to ensure market exploitation, further development and upscaling of the Productive Parks.
- Municipality of Latina
- Labirinto Social Cooperative - social cooperative
- Innovaction Europe Social Cooperative - social cooperative
- Ce.R.S.I.Te.S. - University of Rome La Sapienza
- Tesserae Urban Social Research (Colini – Tripodi GbR) - SME
- Engie Services S.p.a. - utility enterprise
- Roffredo Caetani Foundation
- Tecla Association - local authority association
- Circeo National Park
Thanks to UPPER, the City of Latina will:
- increase availability, accessibility and inclusiveness of city public green areas;
- improve air and water quality in selected Demonstration Sites;
- decrease hydrogeological risk;
- decrease soil pollution;
- enhance citizens health and wellbeing;
- reduce social exclusion and risk of poverty for marginalized people;
- improve business development and marketability of NBS related products and services;
- improve local sustainable economic and cultural development;
- increase citizens participation, environmental awareness, sense of belonging and ownership of urban green spaces as a common good;
- enhance institutional capacity;
- increase self-sufficiency of the city in producing, installing and maintaining NBS;
- enhance multilevel governance, stakeholders coordination and planning capacity;
- enhance long term sustainability of urban green areas and infrastructures.
June 2020: preparation of 3 Productive parks completed. The parks are ready for the cultivation of selected plant species and the delivery of co-design nature-based services
January 2021: self-production of NBS started in the 3 productive parks with the involvement of vulnerable people from the Jobs and Skills programme
March 2021: installation of selected NBS in the Demonstration Sites started. Delivery of nature-based social care and edutainment activities in Productive Park 2 started
April 2022: adoption of a regulatory framework for a People-Private-Public-Partnership (PPPP) governance model to ensure up-scaling and long term sustainability of the solution after the end of UPPER project.