Barcelona and Paris have presented ambitious plans to undergo a green facelift. The current pandemic has made cities and citizens realise that urban green infrastructure is an essential urban resource and service. Urban green spaces and parks have been rediscovered by urbanites for recreation during the pandemic. In addition, research has shown that covid-19 infections are higher in areas with higher levels of air pollution. This prompted cities to also consider the regulating functions that urban trees and forests perform as they filter particulate matter and other air pollutants from the atmosphere.
The European Commission asks cities with over 20,000 inhabitants to develop urban greening plans in its biodiversity strategy for 2030. The commission also works on a Green City Accord, an initiative that asks cities to committ for more urban green infrastructure. The JRC BiodiverCities team is helping develop an indicator framework for monitoring the progress towards commitments on new urban green space. So expect future updates on the Accord on these pages.