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Watch Professor Sarah Bekessy introduce this course and explain why bringing nature into cities is essential for future urban planning.

There is a growing demand for ‘everyday nature’ as part of the solution to the liveability of cities, but it’s more than just urban greening; it’s generating daily doses of biodiversity.

The world is undergoing a surge of urban population growth, with more than half of all people now living in towns and cities. With few exceptions, cities are expected to become bigger and more numerous and as urbanisation accelerates, cities around the world are facing unprecedented challenges to maintaining basic liveability.

A recent example to address these challenges is the New European Bauhaus Initiative launched by the European Commission in 2021. This initiative expresses the EU’s ambition of creating beautiful, sustainable, and inclusive places, products and ways of living and accelerating the green transition to support the regeneration of nature and protect biodiversity.

Reconnecting urban communities with nature has been reinforced during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, putting a renewed focus on how we use green public space, underlining the direct link between nature and physical and mental health for all of us.

Welcome to this course about bringing nature into urban centres.

What will you be learning in this course?

In response to the unprecedented challenges facing cities, the big question we’ll be looking at in this course is: ‘How can nature help us overcome the challenges facing cities?’

To answer this, we’ll explore what is meant by nature-based solutions and the benefits of building nature into cities. We’ll explore how nature-based solutions can be designed in cities, and examine what these look like in practice. We’ll also explore the varied ways citizens have engaged in nature-based solutions.

We’ll explore compelling reasons for embracing nature-based solutions for our cities and present promising pathways to achieve this.

Throughout the course, we’ll explore a range of innovative solutions, explore international case studies and hear from a range of urban specialists, including ecologists, planners and architects.

Your learning outcomes

By completing this course, you should be able to:

  • identify the evidence-based impact of building nature into cities
  • investigate the environmental and social impact of nature-based solutions
  • explore approaches to designing and delivering nature-based solutions to address urban challenges
  • recognise how biodiversity impacts human health, wellbeing and environmental resilience

Meet the team

Your educators for this course are Professor Sarah Bekessy, who teaches in environmental studies and sustainability at RMIT University, Dr Holly Kirk

Getting involved

As the educators will not be facilitating this course, a key way to enhance your learning is to participate in the ‘your task’ set by your educators and engage in topic-related conversations with your fellow learners. Some of the ways you can do this include:

  • add a post to start or continue a conversation by building on what others are saying
  • use reply to ask a question or make a comment that indicates you’re interested in what someone has said
  • make a comment that links, compares or contrasts different themes in the conversation
  • disagree with a comment in a curious, constructive and compassionate manner.

Your Task

Watch the video from Sarah to discover more about this course.

Take a moment to get to know one another by telling us a little about yourself in the comments. For example, you could describe:

  • Your location, background and interest in bringing nature into urban centres
  • Your motivation for participating in this course and what you hope to get out of it.
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Bringing Urban Nature Into the Cities of Tomorrow

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