The megatrends are clear: by 2050, 84% of the European population will live in urban areas, while air pollution and climate change will continue to harm the health of European citizens. Despite minor improvements, pollution levels, that regularly exceed the European Union (EU) limits, and heatwaves, endanger the lives of young and elderly people. Urban forests are effective Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) that help mitigate the effects of climate change while improving air quality, urban temperature and lifestyle of modern cities. Main global cities are setting challenging urban reforestation targets while struggling to face related costs and citizens engagement to meet current changing and future needs. On the other hand, urban planning and forestry sciences have failed to provide interdisciplinary training to engage with innovative public-private
urban forestry (UF) initiatives and trends.
The UFOREST Alliance aims at promoting Europe’s innovation capacity among universities, cities and businesses to deliver a new approach to UF. It will do so by:
• facilitating the exchange, flow and co-creation of knowledge among universities, local authorities, and business coming from four key interdisciplinary approaches that often are not cooperating: urban landscape planning, forest ecology, socio-economics and, information and communication technologies;
• promoting a new, innovative and multidisciplinary global blended training course on UF for both students and professionals;
• stimulating entrepreneurial attitude of students, researchers and professionals to provide public and private sectors with innovative and cost-effective UF solutions.
The project will focus on Italy, Spain, Romania, Ireland, Netherlands and Canada. Results will have a strong EU-global dimension and transferability potential, capitalizing on existing national and international networks and through the partnership with the European Forestry Institute, a leading European networking and research institution.