Combining biodiversity, climate adaptation and citizen engagement – the case of public participation in an urban park

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

Managing climate induced excesses of rainwater in urban areas calls for nature-based solutions in urban parks, i.e. creating rainbeds, artificial lakes, building dikes and digging ditches. Traditionally, such blue-green climate adaptation measures do not integrate efforts to create more rich habitats for flora and fauna. Instead, nutrient rich soil and grass are placed on the adaptation, corresponding to a biological desert. In this paper we present the project Permeable Green City Aarhus, which seeks to investigate the potential role that citizens can play in conjunction with scientists in developing green infrastructures that equally integrate habitats for biodiversity and sustainable urban drainage (SUD) that help adapt to climate change.
The project focuses on transforming one urban park in a suburban town north of Aarhus (Lystrup), and the paper deals with our conceptualisation and design of the process of trying to engage citizens in co-deciding and developing the park. We present the project’s various phases of participation moving from local resource mappings, to engaging with local gatekeepers to initiating a large citizen meeting and various development workshops. We also address the dilemmas that have arisen during the process – e.g. how to balance local needs vs. the research agenda of supporting biodiversity, local participation vs. municipal logics, science vs. arts approaches – and conceptualise our take on ‘participation’ as an ongoing, open and creative process of assembling and re-assembling the needs and perspectives of citizens, nature, academic disciplines, local organizations and authorities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year28 Oct 2015
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2015
EventRE-DO: On sustainability and culture’s role in sustainable futures - Moesgaard Museum, Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 28 Oct 201531 Oct 2015


LocationMoesgaard Museum

    Research areas

  • citizen engagement, climate change, biodiversity, nature-based solutions

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