Influential visit on ‘Green Cities’ to the Netherlands
On 9-12 April, a group of 10 Polish representatives from several municipalities visited The Netherlands to get acquainted with the green city philosophy, Dutch expertise and actions towards the green city, and to be inspired by sustainable, climate-proof and innovative solutions implemented in both city and local scales.
The fact that Polish cities lack of quality green spaces and regularly experience severe heat stress, lack of water and weather extremes, the visit aimed to provide knowledge and introduce examples of how to respond to such challenges in the urban environment. Therefore, the main themes of the visit were positive aspects of greenery in cities, future of green cities and climate-resilient solutions. The programme of the visit included diverse seminars and field visits in Boskoop, Rotterdam, Nijmegen and Almere.
Even though Rotterdam is known as water-resilient city and its green agenda is still being developed, the city of Rotterdam is proud of many different climate-resilient solutions. Examples of green and blue network, permeable pavements, water squares, rain gardens and storages, green rooftop programme, sustainable neighborhoods, greening the parking lots, etc. were inspirational and respond to the challenges of many Polish cities. Additionally, the importance of social involvement and cooperation with local authorities as well as implementation of climate-responsive interventions in the urban fabric were underlined during the visit in Nijmegen. There, the participants were introduced to different bottom-up and top-down initiatives on greenery, energy, mobility and water developments which was a key to success to obtain the award of EU Green Capital in 2018. The participants also visited Almere to get acquainted with Floriade, creating opportunities to involve Polish municipalities in creating the green city together and discuss further Polish-Dutch cooperation. An attention to the quality of public greenery and its maintenance was also emphasized during presentations and field visits in several tree nurseries which are active on Polish market.
The delegation valued the visit and got inspired in several aspects. The participants complimented innovative solutions, out of the box thinking, integrated approach, well-developed strategies and long-term goals, not being afraid of taking risks and strong cooperation of local authorities with local communities. Last but not least, the participants were inspired by different examples of sustainable solutions on how to tackle the urban environment in the context of greenery, water, climate, energy, mobility and biodiversity which is critical to the long-term functioning of healthy, successful, and livable urban spaces.