World Green City Awards showcase the power of plants for city resilience

Victoria Park – The Town’s Urban Forest Grants program provides community groups and businesses the opportunity to get involved in #GreeningVicPark. Photo by Kat Wray.

With an impressive number of entries from cities representing every region of the globe, the inaugural AIPH World Green City Awards 2022 has inspired a global movement for greener cities where everyone wins: cities, people, and the planet. One thing is certain – cities are taking ambitious action to harness the power of plants and nature.

Bogotá – Any place is good to start a garden.
Photo from Botanic Garden of Bogotá image bank.

The 2022 edition saw entries submitted in six categories, demonstrating that the “living green” in our cities has the potential to deliver multiple benefits and drive transformative change by enabling nature-based solutions to common urban challenges. Cities have showcased how their urban greening initiatives are contributing significantly to the global imperatives to restore biodiversity, adapt to climate change, improve the health and wellbeing of urban residents, safeguard water resources, build social cohesion, enable economic recovery and inclusive growth, and ultimately secure an urban future that is resilient and where humans and nature thrive harmoniously.

Following the first round of judging- assessment, and scoring by a Technical Panel of twenty-three multi-disciplinary experts from around the globe, the International Association of Horticultural Producers, AIPH, is proud to announce the list of 18 finalists, comprising the three top scoring entries in each of the six awards categories.

“We are thrilled to be showcasing excellence in city greening from cities around the world,” said Tim Briercliffe, AIPH Secretary General. “AIPH is confident that the first-ever AIPH World Green City Awards leaves a successful legacy that will shine through. Congratulations to every one of the shortlisted cities.”
shortlisted finalists.

Paris – Children playing at the Maryse-Hilsz elementary school’s Oasis. Photo by Théo Ménivard, CAUE de Paris.

The 18 finalists for the 2022 edition of the AIPH World Green City Awards, who each stand a chance of being selected as winners in their respective categories, are proudly announced as follows:

• Reverdecer Bogotá – Bogotá D.C., Colombia
• Act Local, Contribute Global to World Biodiversity Conservation – Town of Victoria Park, Australia
• Getting everyone involved in greening the city –
City of Paris, France

• Peynircioglu Stream Ecological Restoration Project –
City of İzmir, Türkiye
• Grey to Green- City of Melbourne, Australia
• Mexico City’s Environmental and Climate Change Program – Mexico City, Mexico

• Transforming degraded land into Urban Micro Parks –
City of Fortaleza, Brazil
• Utrecht Green and Healthy City – City of Utrecht,
the Netherlands
• Sunvale Community Park – City of Brimbank, Australia

• The Phytotechnology Stations at the Montréal Botanical Garden / Space for Life – City of Montréal, Canada
• Creating a Green City – Logan City Council, Australia
• uMhlathuze Water Stewardship Partnership –
City of uMhlathuze, South Africa

• Socio-urban integration in an ecological reserve: The case of Rodrigo Bueno – City of Buenos Aires, Argentina
• Sunchoenman Bay Wetland Conservation Project – Suncheon City, South Korea
• OASIS Schoolyard Project – City of Paris, France

• The 2020-2030 Master Plan for the Conservation, Improvement and Development of Parc Jean-Drapeau –
City of Montréal, Canada
• Transformation of “Beltway to Green Belt” –
City of Mashhad, Iran
• Green Necklace to the State of Telangana –
City of Hyderabad, India

“The diversity of the projects recommended was truly impressive –most projects can be adapted to many geographic and economic realities, enhancing the potential for their uptake throughout the communities of the world”- Ms Colleen Mercer Clarke, Chair, International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) Working Group on Climate Change and Member of the Jury

Montréal – Constructed wetlands in the Aquatic garden at the Montréal Botanical Garden. Photo from Montréal Botanical Garden.

The entries by finalists demonstrate an inspiring collection of case studies which showcase first-hand the power of plants and nature and the benefits of urban greening. For instance, The Town of Victoria Park aims to conserve biodiversity and encourage the spread of local ecosystems throughout homes, streetscapes, parks, and other spaces, thereby demonstrating that the simple, local act of planting can have a powerful impact on global biodiversity. Community concerns about Victoria Park’s 10 per cent canopy cover resulted in the collection of seeds from endemic shrubs and trees in the Jirdarup bushland to propagate into plant stock by specialist nurseries for use in various Urban Forest planting activities.

In the City of Bogota, Colombia, urban gardens across the city showcase over 120 plant species in orchards, including fruit trees, shrubs, vines, and even small plants with multiple uses and benefits for urban communities, such as the generation and strengthening of the social fabric, encouraging a healthy diet, promoting physical activity, contributing to mental health, contribute to the conservation of knowledge from ancestral and traditional communities, and the reduction of organic and inorganic waste.

In the City of Paris, the Oasis Schoolyard project, launched in 2018, seeks to renew, dynamize and green existing public schoolyards across the city, thereby responding simultaneously to multiple urban issues such as the lack of green areas within the city, the design of appropriate public spaces for children growing up in the city, and in general the enhancement of citizens’ quality of life. This improves community cohesion by providing free access to green space in schoolyards on Saturdays. By December 2021, 72 schoolyards had been transformed, and the City’s goal is to reach all 770 kindergarten, elementary and middle schools by 2050.

In 2019, the Montréal Botanical Garden inaugurated a series of phytotechnology stations to address various environmental issues on its site, including two types of sub-surface constructed wetlands, one with the horizontal flow and one with the vertical flow. These wetlands ensure that the water used in this garden, which circulates in a closed circuit, is of good quality and educates visitors on the role and benefits of these green infrastructures.
These initiatives demonstrate only a small selection of the impressive diversity of entries. View more case studies by finalists here.

“The outstanding nature-based projects featured in these awards are inspiring, each unique and ground-breaking within their local contexts. They indicate the many ways we can and need to embrace and nurture nature in an urban context.” – Ms Kobie Brand, Deputy Secretary General of ICLEI and Regional Director of ICLEI Africa and Member of the Jury.

The shortlist of 18 entries, comprising the finalists, was presented to the world-renowned 2022 Awards Jury, who was tasked with voting for a winner in each of the six categories based on each entry’s potential for impact, capacity for influence, replicability, and scope to inspire transformative change.
The jury voted for one city that will win the ultimate overall AIPH World Green City Award from the six category winners.

Jeju Island, ROK

The winners will be announced at the AIPH World Green City Awards gala dinner, which is set to take place on 14th October 2022 at the IUCN Leaders Forum, with a focus on “Building nature-positive economies and societies” in the Special Self-Governing Province of Jeju, Republic of Korea.

Through the AIPH World Green City Awards, AIPH and its partners are proud to celebrate leading cities whose inspiring initiatives demonstrate the value of plants in urban life and ambitious nature-orientated approaches to city design and operation. These cities are showcasing first-hand how plants have the power to transform the built environment in the pursuit of greener, healthier, and more sustainable cities.

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