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New policy recommendations for cities: multifunctional benefits by investing in green areas

Cities play a key role in achieving Finland’s carbon neutrality goal. In addition to reducing emissions, it is also necessary to increase carbon sinks.

This is enabled by urban green i.e., all the green spaces in cities ranging from forests and meadows to built parks, street plants, and yards. Thus, it is important to better utilize the possibilities of urban green spaces as a potential carbon sink and as a cost-effective and multi-functional climate solution.

CO-CARBON research project released new policy recommendations for cities in May 2023 in a Hiiliviisas kaupunkivihreä ilmastoratkaisuksi – politiikkasuosituksia kaupungeille webinar. The CO-CARBON Policy Brief proposes carbon-smartness as a solution and suggests five ways to improve the carbon sequestration of green structures, to secure carbon sinks in urban planning, and to develop low-emission practices for landscape construction and management, while producing other vital ecosystem services at the same time.

Cornerstones of carbon-smartness: 

  • from carbon footprint to multifunctional carbon handprint, 
  • focus on the amount, quality and life cycle of urban green spaces, 
  • carbon-smart practices for landscape construction and management, 
  • social sustainability as part of climate solutions, 
  • more climate benefits with more efficient steering instruments

The Policy Brief can be found and downloaded on our website both in English and in Finnish.

CO-CARBON is an interdisciplinary research project that quantifies and models the carbon sequestration of urban green spaces and creates solutions for planning, implementing, and managing carbon-smart urban green infrastructure. The research group consists of atmospheric, soil and social scientists as well as landscape architects. In addition to scientific research, solutions are developed in cooperation with cities, companies, expert organisations, and residents. The aim is to support decision making that promotes carbon sequestration and carbon-smart solutions. The project is funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC).

(Image: CO-CARBON/Ranja Hautamäki)

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