The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) conducts interdisciplinary research on urban nature. Our team does research and consulting on mapping and valuing urban ecosystem services, urban ecosystem accounts, environmental justice and assessment of related urban planning and policy.
Taking care of nature in cities is just as important for the people living in them as it is for biodiversity. More than half of the world's population now lives in cities and by 2050 this percentage will have risen to two thirds. At the same time, cities – and the people who live in them – face many problems caused by urbanisation and climate change – such as increased air pollution, heatwaves, extreme precipitation and health problems resulting from amongst others lack of access to green space.
Research shows that green space, trees and other natural areas in and around cities are extremely important for dealing with these challenges. Nature is important for our health and well-being and provides many important ecosystem services such as purifying the air, reducing noise, mitigating flooding, reducing health risks caused by heat waves and serving as a habitat for pollinating insects.
During Oslo’s heatwave in the summer of 2018 urban areas with trees were up to 10 degrees cooler than areas covered by tarmac!
For residents who do not have the opportunity to travel to experience nature, having nature in the neighbourhood provides "green refuges" which proved to be important during the Covid pandemic.