The last Barcelona URIP (Urban-Regional Innovation Partnership) meeting took place on 5th June 2018 at the Municipal Institute for People with Disabilities (IMPD) of the Barcelona City Council as a partner event of the EU Green Week and European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW). This event addressed the benefits of rooftop gardens as nature-based solutions in compact cities such as Barcelona, especially concerning social inclusion.
Various presentations on the following topics were heard: the main policies fostering the implementation of green roofs in Barcelona (e.g. funding schemes for building rehabilitation; city ordinance for green roofs); the technical, social, economic and legal barriers for the implementation of green roofs; and the main characteristics of the rooftop garden/farm implemented at the IMPD headquarters.
In fact, one of the highlights of the event was the guided tour on the IMPD green roof. Participants had the opportunity to interact with some of the users – mainly people with mental disabilities – in a rich and stimulating atmosphere. This green roof project started in 2015 with the main aim of providing a safe environment for recreation, learning, and social interaction for these vulnerable groups, while also promoting a new use for (generally) empty or underused rooftops of municipal buildings. One of the success stories of the project is related to the social empowerment of people with disabilities working on the rooftop garden, since most part of the food production is donated to social lunchrooms and food banks.
The final part of the URIP session included a workshop aimed at prioritizing the benefits provided by green roofs in the city, notably urban cooling, runoff absorption, habitat promotion and pollination, food provisioning, recreation and relaxation, and social cohesion and inclusion.
Luís Campos Rodrigues (ENT) and Francesc Baró (ICTA-UAB) both work as researchers on the Naturvation project.