Posted on Leave a comment

Informative event for Viimsi local stakeholders

On 13 April, a community event was held in Viimsi municipality to introduce the local residents to the smart rainwater harvesting solution to be implemented as part of the LIFE LATESTadapt project. The project is planned to be implemented in Haabneeme and the community event was an opportunity to present the innovative solution to the local residents. The event took place in the framework of the Viimsi Vision Day, which attracted a large number of residents from different areas of Viimsi municipality, who were given the opportunity to learn about the LIFE LATESTadapt project and the novel and innovative solutions related to the project. During the community event, various educational materials were distributed to the visitors and different environmentally sustainable solutions were discussed.

Posted on Leave a comment

Call for Participants to City Planning & Innovation Hackathon LifeHack Valmiera!

The City Planning & Innovation Hackathon, LifeHack Valmiera, will take place from May 13th to May 17th, 2024. It focuses on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) for climate adaptation enhanced by innovative sensor technologies. This hybrid event includes four dynamic days of online collaboration and an onsite finale in Valmiera. Teams presenting the most innovative, effective, and impactful solutions will compete for a total prize fund of 5000 EUR.

LifeHack Valmiera invites diverse thinkers and doers, including students, technology experts, and professionals from environmental science, urban planning, engineering, information technology, and architecture. We seek teams and individuals ready to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world settings to make significant environmental improvements in Valmiera.

Participants are invited to take on one of six challenges designed to enhance urban resilience and ecological sustainability in Valmiera, focusing on innovative approaches to address flood resilience, urban heat islands, and water quality improvements, among other issues. 

At the LifeHack Valmiera Hackathon, participants will have the opportunity to engage with experts from Valmiera City, Riga Technical University, Jelgava University of Life Sciences and Technologies, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, Tallinn University of Technology, Tartu University, Estonian University of Life Sciences and other industry professionals. These experts will provide ongoing support and guidance, ensuring all participants have the necessary data and insights to develop effective solutions. 

Before the LifeHack Valmiera Hackathon, there will be an online info and team formation session on May 8th.  Registration deadline is May 12th, 2024.

More info and registration on the LifeHack Valmiera hackathon website: https://lifehackvalmiera.hacktribe.co

We look forward to seeing you at LifeHack Valmiera – where your innovative solutions can make a real difference!

The hackathon is held within and sponsored by the LIFE programme 2021-2027 project LIFE LatEstAdapt “Developing and demonstrating a portfolio of nature-based and smart solutions for improving urban climate resilience in Latvia and Estonia”, which is co-funded by the European Union, State Regional Development Agency of the Republic of Latvia and the Ministry of Climate of the Republic of Estonia. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union, CINEA or financiers, respectively. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.

 

Contact info:

Jurijs Kondratenko, Riga Technical University, Jurijs.Kondratenko@rtu.lv 

Karlis Skuja, Riga Technical University, karlis.skuja_1@rtu.lv

 
Posted on Leave a comment

Riga Technical University has produced a document describing novel monitoring technologies and approaches, and highlighting prevailing knowledge gaps and further research needs.

The project partner (Riga Technical University) has produced a document mapping novel monitoring technologies and approaches, highlighting prevailing knowledge gaps and further research needs. The document has been prepared in the framework of the project activity 2.4 “Identification and testing of novel measurement methods for monitoring the effectiveness of natural solutions”, which aims to collect existing best practices for monitoring the effectiveness of natural solutions and propose novel solutions to improve current standardised monitoring protocols and existing best practices.

LIFE LATESTadapt project wise nature-based solutions (NBS) will be developed and tested at 8 demonstration sites that will protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems in local governments of Estonia (Viimsi, Haapsalu, Rakvere, Võru, Narva) and Latvia (Riga, Valmiera, Cesis).

Interested in what the document says? Visit: https://lifelatestadapt.viimsivald.ee/materials/

Posted on Leave a comment

First 1,5 year of Project – Setting the course

We extend our heartfelt New Year wishes to our LIFE LATESTadapt Project team members, co-operation partners, and local communities! The beginning of year also provides an opportunity to reflect on the milestones we’ve achieved together so far.

The Project has been implemented since September 2022, and its first 1,5 years has been a journey of making preparatory steps for showcasing the power of nature-based and smart solutions to enhance urban climate resilience in Estonia and Latvia. Each Project Partner has played valuable role in conducting the preparatory and analytical tasks, summarised below.

In the field of Project management and communication, Project Partner teams were composed, Project visual identity elements were developed, website and Facebook page were created, joint Steering Group and Stakeholder Advisory Board held its first meeting, etc.

With regard to new nature-based solutions (NBS), Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) and Riga Technical University (RTU ) composed, in co-operation with the partner municipalities, the technical descriptions for 8 demo sites – Viimsi, Haapsalu, Narva, Võru, Rakvere, Riga, Valmiera and Cesis. In parallel, Nordic Botanical conducted the literature review of the plant species suitable for native rain gardens, selected the species and tested the functioning of selected communities, designed and tested planting/seeding techniques. RTU gathered existing novel monitoring technologies and approaches about the effectiveness of nature-based solutions (and pointed out the knowledge gaps and research needs. Also, RTU prepared methodology and indicators for monitoring of the Project actions, as well as a monitoring plan describing the activities to be performed and their regularity.

In the topic of urban climate resilient planning, Baltic Environmental Forum Latvia (BEF Latvia) is leading the work for mapping of the green infrastructure in Riga, Cesis and Valmiera, by developing the methodology framework for mapping and planning, compiling a joint data hub, basemap and ecosystem service maps. Also, the key thematic Project event of 2023 co-organized by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia (MoEPRD) and BEF Latvia – International Workshop on planning and operationalising urban green infrastructure and ecosystem service concepts – was held on 13-14.06.23 in Riga. 

For raising awareness on adaptation to climate change effects, Baltic Environmental Forum Estonia (BEF Estonia) in cooperation with the partner municipalities mapped the local stakeholders and composed the action plan for their involvement. Thereafter, 6 stakeholder workshops were organised by local governments – in Haapsalu, Valmiera, Cesis, Riga, Võru, Narva – in which the proposed demo sites were presented to local inhabitants and organisations, and feedback was received from participants. 

Based on this groundwork, in 2024 a large number of next tasks and events will be launched, among others, the preparation of construction project design for demo sites, training sessions on cost-efficiency, planning and management of NBS, including the development of Urban Greening Plans, student hackathons to generate new innovative ideas for NBS, and many more.

We look forward to continuing our collaborative journey in 2024, building on the successes of the past and exploring new avenues of innovation and sustainability!

Posted on Leave a comment

Season’s greetings from LIFE LATESTadapt project team!

We wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2024!

Posted on Leave a comment

Use and values of urban green areas in three Latvian cities: summary of social survey results

In summer 2023 Baltic Environmental Forum – Latvia conducted a social survey on the urban green spaces important for people in the three Latvian cities involved in LIFE LATESTadapt project: Riga, Cesis and Valmiera.

The surveying took place from May to August 2023. All residents, as well as frequent visitors of Riga, Cesis and Valmiera, were invited to participate in the survey. A total of 1030 participants completed the survey, providing more than 1180 data points with urban green spaces that are important for them.

The survey was carried out in cooperation with project partners – municipalities of Cesis, Valmiera and Riga. The survey results will be used to integrate social values of the urban green areas in the green infrastructure mapping that is being developed in the LATESTadapt project for Riga, Cesis and Valmiera.  

About the cities

Riga is the capital city and also the largest city of Latvia. Riga has more than 630 000 residents, and it is a distinctly multifunctional city. Although on European scale Riga can be considered a relatively green city, the distribution of green areas is uneven and Riga faces various climate change related challenges, including flooding during extreme rainfall events and the heat island effect.

Valmiera is a mid-size industrial city characterised by high economic activity. It has approx. 24 000 residents, and it is considered to be one of the few growing cities in Latvia.  

The third city – Cesis – is a small and historical town that is characterised by a lot of green areas. Cesis is located right next to one of Latvian national parks – Gauja National Park. Cesis has approx. 16 000 residents.

Summary of results

Interestingly, despite the large differences between the cities (size, number of residents etc.), the survey results showed many similarities:

  • In all three cities the most popular activity in urban green areas is walking. Among the most popular uses of green areas were also such activities as: enjoying the fresh air and beauty of nature, relieving stress by being in the nature. Overall, in all three cities, people use green spaces for activities that promote both physical and mental health, demonstrating the important role they play in the well-being of urban dwellers.
  • In all three cities, both residents and frequent visitors are active users of urban green spaces. Approximately 90% of survey participants indicated that they had visited the marked area within the last month.
  • According to survey results, the three most important values for survey participants in green spaces are: distance from home (close to home), aesthetics and pleasant atmosphere.
  • About 2/3 of the survey participants wanted to see some improvements in the green area they completed the survey about. The wishes for improvements were highly diverse. Among the most popular ones were improved or renewed amenities (benches, better lighting etc.) and improved management of green areas.
  • In all three cities, the majority of respondents (>80%) are interested in how their city’s green spaces are being developed and they care that the urban nature is protected.
  • Results in all three cities show contrasting views on what urban green spaces should look like, with some survey participants wanting to see as many carefully maintained green spaces as possible, while others stated they value the opportunity to enjoy natural green spaces in the city. There are also different views on whether there is a place for ‘wild nature’ in cities. Support for ‘wild nature’ is relatively higher in Riga.

The biggest differences in the results were seen in the perceived access to green spaces. The highest proportion of respondents who believe that there are not enough green spaces near their place of residence is in Riga (~50%), while the lowest is in Cesis (~30%).

More detailed summary results is available here (Latvian only): https://www.bef.lv/latest-aptaujas-kopsavilkums/