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Nature restoration in cities is a crucial aspect of sustainable urban development, especially in terms of contributing to climate adaptation and biodiversity conservation. However, it can involve significant changes at an individual level, which may challenge the traditional relationship between people and nature. The acceptance of restoration projects by urban dwellers depends on whether they establish new relationships between people and nature. Research indicates that there are significant differences in the acceptance of restoration measures, particularly between young and older people. The comparatively low level of acceptance among today's youth and young adults poses a significant challenge for urban nature restoration. Against this background, this research project takes a biographical approach to identify influences on the acceptance of urban nature throughout the life course. By using a biographical approach, we can systematically identify age and generational influences and possible intervention points for educational institutions, urban planning, and greenspace management. Qualitative interviews will be conducted with young people and adults of various ages residing in Vienna, as well as with experts from different fields such as environmental education and urban planning. The project aims to develop an explanatory model of the interactions between age and generation-related influences, different human-nature relationships, and the acceptance of urban restoration. The results will establish a knowledge base for developing intervention strategies and designing further experiments in urban areas to develop new human-nature relationships for restored cities.

Spatial planning plays a key role in adaptation to climate risks. Thereby, a forward-looking and holistic approach to urban and regional development is needed when decision makers in local spatial planning, municipalities and cities attempt to implement effective measures for climate change adaptation. In this context, there is often a lack of adequate data bases as well as specific but also interdisciplinary knowledge for the interpretation of climate data for the concrete planning case. Based on the concrete planning example of a medium-sized city with a central function as a provincial capital (St. Pölten) and with strong development dynamics, the project considers how climate change adaptation can be implemented at the local level, taking into account the supra-local specifications and strategies, especially if the interconnectedness across planning boundaries (such as urban/urban hinterland) is to be included in the decision-making process. Through an actor-based discussion, which data are needed in particular for the assessment of the spatial impact/sensitivity, how the data management can be improved, as well as a more intensive use of the data at different planning levels, concrete requirements for data and their interpretation are defined in order to reduce uncertainties for the legitimacy of planning decisions in the future and to maximize positive synergies of different planning interests. The project directly shows potentials and necessities of the implementation of climate change adaptation measures via planning instruments, provides action and decision support and forces the interdisciplinary exchange between relevant actors. The project results can and should also provide assistance for other communities.

In response to the increasing need for cooperation in learning for environmental sustainability, including biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions (NBS) learning and teaching, eNaBlS will set the basis of networking and collaboration with a view to promoting transdisciplinary dialogue and further embedding and unfolding NBS concepts and approaches within universities and vocational schools, the professional sphere and society at large. eNaBlS envisions the creation of Living Labs to epitomise an integrative approach that includes all ‘voices’ and leaves no one behind. Collecting a variety of input and welcoming a plurality of values and knowledge, the goal is to mainstream biodiversity and NBS in higher education and TVET by developing and upscaling new forms of teaching, learning and capacity-building that are more relational, systems-oriented and applied. This should be achieved through multi-actor collaboration and a whole institution approach (WIA) -universities become their own Living Labs- that spans the curricula, pedagogy and didactics, professional development, institutional practices school/university-community relationships and institutional ethos, vision and leadership. Doing so implies working together across silos, sectors and epistemologies as well as a paradigm shift in education and the development of sustainability competencies. In the end, eNaBlS will contribute to tackling more generally i) urgent sustainability challenges through the necessary transformative change of communities, business models and lifestyles, and, specifically, ii) both biodiversity and climate crises at different decision-making scales, while addressing the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 and the EU climate adaptation strategy.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations