Currently, 74% of Europe’s population live in cities and this figure is projected to increase to 83.7% by 20501. This trend will adversely affect the quality of life in cities unless sustainable urbanisation approaches are adopted for creating healthy and prosperous urban ecosystems. When addressing urban eco-systems, the social, environmental and economic aspects of urban environments and their complex interlinkages need to be considered.
This policy brief aims at inspiring local policy makers to take steps in improving their urban ecosystems. After a brief overview of the EU strategic legislative and implementation packages emphasising the benefits of sustainable urban development for better quality of life and attractive cities, the socio-economic benefits of adopting nature-based solutions at a city level are explored as they offer multiple strategic opportunities in this regard. Several major challenges affecting urban ecosystems are presented, as well as good practices coming from Interreg Europe projects to face such challenges.