EU-Funded Urban Project Underway in Khorramabad
EghtesadOnline: Lorestan Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture hosted a five-day workshop from Oct. 21-25 on urban regeneration in the presence of representatives from EU-funded project URBiNAT.
URBiNAT focuses on the regeneration and integration of deprived social housing urban development through an innovative and inclusive catalogue of Nature-Based Solutions, ensuring sustainability and mobilizing forces for social cohesion.
Interventions focus on the public space to co-create with citizens new urban, social and nature-based relations within and between different neighborhoods, according to Financial Tribune.
The city of Khorramabad, capital of Lorestan Province, became one of the members of URBiNAT Community of cities outside the European Union nearly one and a half years ago, after URBiNAT project was launched in 27 European Union cities, according to Hossein Selahvarzi, the deputy head of Iran Chamber of Commerce.
According to the project’s website, uncontrolled urbanization in Khorramabad has led to severe problems, with deprived and undeveloped areas located mainly in the center and to the south of the city.
Khorramabad is a city marked by majestic cultural heritage. Its physical structure is strongly influenced by the natural elements, including mountains and rivers.
The historical core is the huge citadel called Falak-ol-Aflak (The Heaven of Heavens). Administrative-commercial centers are located on the northern part and residential districts formed along the Khorram and Kargan rivers (with more than 100 historical bridges). Kiu Lake is situated in Kiu Park and green areas surround this recreational district in the northern part of the City.
Lack of accessibility, mobility (traffic nodes) and concentration of resources to the northern part has led to friction and lack of trust among citizens in the south, where many residents suffer from a sense of discrimination. As a result, the structure of the city as it stands is inherently polarized.
At present, there is no comprehensive plan for amending the land use pattern and minimal attention is paid to the natural and historical endowments. Some NGOs try to be active but lack the power that would be required in order to exert any palpable influence.
Through URBiNAT, the plan is to build on the experience of Khorramabad to create new awareness, in ways that are effective in communicating to urban planners around the country, and also to engage various relevant key stakeholders in how to devise and anchor a strategy for overcoming the fundamental issues that tend to divide and hamper the development of many cities.
This includes practically useful insight on introducing NBS, although already a cornerstone of Khorramabad’s legacy and existing city fabric, through inclusive practices.
The five-year European Commission project, URBiNAT has three key objectives corresponding to three types of action:
- At the local level, to promote social cohesion through the activation of living labs and engagement of a Community of Practice;
- At a transversal level, to achieve new models of urban regeneration through an innovative public space: healthy corridors concept and the NBS catalogue;
- Widespread, with the monitoring, dissemination and market replication of the knowledge produced and demonstrated.
Taking the full physical, mental and social well-being of citizens as its main goal, URBiNAT aims to co-plan a healthy corridor as an innovative and flexible NBS, which itself integrates a large number of micro NBS emerging from community-driven design processes.
URBiNAT consists of a worldwide consortium of academic and business partners around seven European cities (Porto, Nantes and Sofia as “frontrunners”; Siena, Nova Gorica, Brussels and Hoje-Taastrup as “followers”), that will act as living laboratories to implement healthy corridor solutions. The cities will be supported by local partners, associations and research centers, and by Europe-wide centers, universities and companies. These will develop a participatory process, an NBS catalogue and a healthy corridor, while monitoring impacts, disseminating and marketing results.
Together, they form an inclusive community of practice (CoP), collaborating with partners from Iran and China, and NBS observers located in Brazil, Oman, Japan and a Chinese city, bringing experiences and an international dimension to the project.
Partners will contribute their innovative NBS experience deployed through an array of trans-disciplinary knowledge, methodologies and tools, as nature-based solutions. This will be supplemented by smart digital tools, citizen engagement, solidarity and social economy initiatives, social innovation for value-generation, incubation for business development and capacity building, and ICT governance platforms.
The social, economic and urban impacts will be measured and replicated by URBiNAT Observatory.