Parks for the Planet Fellows Take Up the “Salzburg Challenge”




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Jul 04, 2016
by Patrick Wilson
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Parks for the Planet Fellows Take Up the “Salzburg Challenge”

Since issuing their joint statement, “The Salzburg Challenge”, our Fellows have been busy putting their words into action Fellows of the inaugural session of the Parks for the Planet Forum: Nature, Health, and a New Urban Generation.

The inaugural session of the Parks for the Planet Forum: Nature, Health, and a New Urban Generation proved to be an invigorating experience for Fellows, ending with them issuing a joint statement: “The Salzburg Challenge for Nature, Health, and a New Urban Generation.” These highlighted projects demonstrate how some Fellows are taking up that challenge.

Green Infrastructure Cities

Immediately post-session, Fellows launched a new network, “GI Cities” (Green Infrastructure Cities), which is an informal umbrella platform for sharing experiences, insights, and inspirational examples of how green infrastructure can strengthen urban sustainability and resilience and improve human health. The network serves as a means to connect and support the individual projects that have come out of the Forum and inspire new actions. 

“What is special about us is that the network is truly collaborative between people representing different groups and levels in society and not owned by anyone,” explains Maria Schewenius, project manager at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, who has taken on the role of network coordinator for GI Cities. “It is a knowledge exchange hub where we invite people to share their experiences and their best practices and get inspired to further the thinking and practice around innovative green infrastructure solutions in their cities.”

GI Cities colleagues plan to meet in July 2016 in Bonn, Germany, at the ICLEI conference on Resilient Cities, with an Americas-focused meeting anticipated in Santa Marta, Colombia. The network’s plans, strategies, and individual projects will then be presented at various events during the latter half of 2016, starting with the Urban Transitions Global Summit in Shanghai, China, and the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii, USA.



Outdoor Grannies

Inspired by the enthusiasm expressed by Fellows in Salzburg, Juana Mariño Drews’ project, “Outdoor Grannies,” aims to strengthen the connection between not only the new generation and their environment, but also the relationship between grandmothers and their grandchildren.

Outdoor Grannies will encourage and promote outdoor activities and events where grandmothers and grandchildren engage in nature and experience intergenerational exchange and bonding. 

“Grandmothers can be the link between past and present. There is a powerful bond that can be promoted and enriched if nature becomes a visible and meaningful part of it,” says Mariño, an architect from Colombia. Mariño believes activities like gardening projects can be used as a catalyst to talk about the natural environment with grandchildren and promote conscious thought about how they can connect with nature and create a better world in their future.

Outdoor Grannies is part of a larger conversation on urban environments, but cultivates a unique focus on intergenerational relationships. The universality of family bonds allows the project to speak to a wide, complex, and rich range of individuals, cultures, urban environments, and topics.



The report and the joint statement from Parks for the Planet Forum: Nature, Health, and a New Urban Generation are available online to read, download, and share.