A Short Recap of the Second Capacity Building Workshop in the UK

On the 8th of June 26 participants from 17 municipalities around the UK came together to learn how to make a compelling business case for green infrastructure.

The Nature Smart Cities project aims to Europe's cities greener, by supplying local authorities with the tools to make a compelling business case for greener cities and towns. The second day of the Capacity Building Programme in the UK did exactly that. With workshops, a fieldvisit and by trying the Nature Smart Cities Business Model, participants learned about the opportunities (financial and social) related to green infrastructure. 

The second UK workshop was held on the 8th June at the historic Mansion House in London. 26 Participants from 17 Local Authorities across the country came together in person and shared experiences from the different areas of planning, ecology, green spaces, climate change and green investment. The workshop was designed to support local authorities to make compelling business cases for investment in green infrastructure through the use of the innovative Nature Smart Cities Business Model.

The workshop was kick started with opening remarks from Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli, former Sheriff of London and co-founder of the commercial think tank Z/Yen, and Paul Rabbitts, the recently appointed Head of Parks and Green Spaces at Southend-on-Sea City Council. This was followed by a panel discussion with Alexandra Snelling-Day (South Cambridgeshire District Council), Julia Edwards (Rother District Council) and Jo Gay (Southend-on-Sea City Council). They shared their practical experiences in making the business case for green infrastructure projects with the help of the Nature Smart Cities Business Model. To finish the morning session participants went on a site visit to the award-winning landscaped public realm,  2 London Wall Place. Guided by Jessica Beattie, a landscape architect with Spacehub, the visit provided an opportunity to see, hear and discuss first hand, the successes and challenges involved in delivering a green infrastructure project that seeks to enhance social impact, biodiversity and air quality.

During the afternoon session, participants split into working groups to try out the Business Model for themselves using two real-life Local Authority scenarios. This hands-on experience built on the experience from the 1st workshop, giving participants an insight into using the costs analysis section of the model and the opportunity to review the resulting business case factsheets.

This was the second of 2 workshops making up the UK Capacity Building Programme. Together the workshops reached 139 participants from 37 local authorities as well as wildlife trusts, Natural England and academia. The workshops were organised and hosted by Southend City Council and Cambridge City Council, with support from the University of Antwerp and Imperial College London.

Workshop Recordings

NSCiti2S 2nd UK Capacity Building Workshop – Highlights - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzwgIHH5lkg

NSCiti2S 2nd UK Capacity Building Workshop – Full recording- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6UizX0FtjA&t=2031s

Session Recordings:

Opening Remarks, Welcome and Introduction to Nature Smart Cities Project - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ud5UfJEvH_Q

Presentation: Benefits of the Nature Smart Business Model for Local Authorities - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7qJ7Vcecm8

Panel Discussion: Making the Business Case for Green Infrastructure in Local Authorities and

alignment with Biodiversity Net Gain’ with interactive Q&A - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3xPgj8m7-4

Group-Work Exercise: “This Time You’re in the Driving Seat”. Hands-On Exercise with the Business Model, looking at enhancing biodiversity, social cohesion and cultural values of place - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CixYCpaKs2M