EFUF 2016 Begins Tomorrow!

Finally! The big day is almost here. We are honoured to host the 19th European Forum on Urban Forestry in Ljubljana, the European Green Capital of 2016. All preparations for the forum are done. We are expecting urban forestry experts and other interested participants from all over the world. The welcome buffet opens at 6 pm at the Slovenian Forestry Institute, where the participants will get an opportunity to meet, discuss and share experiences and knowledge.

The #EFUF2016 blog competition has covered many different themes about urban forestry. Many blogs were received and published. Every blogger made a quality contribution with their personal aspects on urban forests. Blogs were mainly written in fields of resilience, health and well being, governance and management and city promotion. Thank you all for your comments, likes and sharing on social channels. You can reach our blog collection at https://efuf2016.wordpress.com/.

The participants will get to know Ljubljana and its green infrastructure during presentations, field trips and excursions to other parts of Slovenia. The conference will take place at the Ljubljana Castle and the field trips will be held in the urban forests of Ljubljana and Celje.

The conference will be live streamed on the official website by twitter (#EFUF2016) and other social channels. In case you can’t attend, the #EFUF2016 social media team will try to give you all important facts that will be highlighted during conference.

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The #EFUF2016 Social media team

#EFUF2016 Blog Competition Winner

We are happy to announce the winner of the #EFUF2016 blog competition – it is Pieter Wieringa! Pieter’s contribution stood out for its originality, content and relevance. It represents an unique approach and analysis of most of the main themes that will be discussed at the forthcoming EFUF 2016 conference. We feel Pieter Wieringa’s contribution will make a significant impact in raising awareness and opening discussion about the importance of urban forest conservation, in his own country and beyond.

We would also like to congratulate Naomi Zürcher and John Gallagher, the finalists of the blog competition, for their highly commendable entries!

The winner wins a free full EFUF 2016 conference package, while the finalists will be rewarded with a free Saturday excursion. All three authors also get an opportunity to present the story behind their post at the EFUF 2016 conference, either by oral presentation or by a poster.

The #EFUF2016 blog competition received many diverse and fantastic blogs addressing the challenges of urban forestry. We would like to deeply thank you all for participating and we hope you will be joining us in Ljubljana!

Be sure not to miss our next blog post on the #EFUF2016 blog – we will present the authors of the best blog posts in more detail!

The Winner

“Nature Takes Over: Unexpected Green Change in Ploiesti, Romania” – Pieter Wieringa

Urban forestry in Romania is in its infancy. There are no present discussions taking a more holistic view at urban green spaces in Ploiesti. Based on field research and existing information I was able to create the above map and gather data. (Pieter Wieringa)

Read the whole post

The Finalists

“Resilience” – Naomi Zürcher

Now that most of us are living in cities, we’ve decided we want to put these Forest trees back into our urban landscapes, not the way they were before, not the way they have evolved to exist, but according to our needs and our designs. (Naomi Zürcher)

Read the whole post

“It’s a walk in the park” A green solution to lower air and noise pollution” – John Gallager

Have you ever thought about the route you take to work? Could you take a better route? What is a better route? I ask myself these questions when I make my commute to work every morning.(John Gallagher)

Read the whole post

Photo credit: Paxon Woelber

#EFUF2016 Blog Competition Ends Today!

But not everything is decided yet! There is still chance to change the current score – want to know how? Find out below!

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Competition overview

Researchers, students and fellows participated in the #EFUF2016 blog competition, covering themes of this year’s Forum on Urban Forestry: resilience, health & well-being, governance & management and promotion. The competition was held from March 1st to May 3rd 2016.

We have published 12 competing blog posts from 12 different authors. The blog posts have reached more than 2800 readers from 90 different countries all over the world.

Winner selection process

The #EFUF2016 editorial board is going to review the top 10 blog posts (according to the blog competition rules) and declare the winner of #EFUF2016 blog competition on May 10th. The posts will be assessed by how much feedback they’ve generated from the readers and by the #EFUF2016 editorial board.

Special announcement: you can collect additional likes and shares of your blog until Sunday, May 8th!

The prizes

The author of the best blog post will receive a free full EFUF2016 conference package, including the Saturday excursion. Second best two blog posts will be awarded with a free Saturday excursion. But that’s not all! Authors of the best three blog posts will have the opportunity to present the story behind their post at the conference either by oral presentation or by a poster.

The competition is over, what now?

The #EFUF2016 blog competition is over, but this doesn’t mean our blog will go quiet! There is still so much to say about urban forests! That’s why you can still send us your thoughts on EFUF 2016 themes and it will be our greatest pleasure to share them.

You’ll hear more from us on May 10th when we announce the winner of the #EFUF2016 blog competition! Stay tuned!

Photo credit: NOGRAN s.r.o.

Active Citizens in Urban Green Space

Across European cities, citizens nowadays play a prominent role in the management of public green spaces, but what does this mean for authorities? Find out more in this blog by Thomas Mattijssen, research fellow at the Wageningen University.

While urban green spaces were traditionally developed and managed by authorities in most of the 20th century, my research and that of many colleagues highlights a stronger involvement of citizens in recent times.

Many local authorities struggle with budget cuts and scarce resources for green space management. This is the reason that policy makers and public officials often tend to look somewhat hopefully at citizens and their activities regarding green space. Expectations are high in many countries, whether we talk about ‘localism’ in the UK, ‘participation society’ in the Netherlands, or look at the policy documents of the European Union. Citizens are expected to be active citizens that take responsibility for their personal living environment.

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Active citizens in urban green space

Many bottom-up initiatives considering urban green space show that citizens can indeed be active citizens – they have proven to be knowledgeable and capable of managing varying types of green space. As research experiences across Europe show, efforts by citizens can lead to positive outcomes and are sometimes celebrated as a success by authorities. However, my own research findings suggest that the majority of citizen green space initiatives are relatively small-scale compared to ‘traditional’ management. Our bias to focus on successes and good practices tends to overlook other examples where citizens are less successful.

In this time of budget cuts, we should reflect on expectations placed on citizens. Cutting budgets for green spaces and simply expecting citizens to take over will usually not work. Although citizens can certainly contribute to the management of public green spaces in urban settings, there is a danger of ‘instrumentalizing’ citizens – expecting them to achieve policy objectives of authorities. Citizens are not always interested in being involved in green space management, nor always equipped to implement it, and they might have different objectives than the authorities.

I believe that rather than instrumentalizing citizens, we should try to look more from their point of view. Instead of trying to enlist citizens in the management of green space, authorities and other parties involved in its management would do well to start with looking at existing grassroots initiatives.

Albeit small scale, some existing initiatives can realize important social and environmental effects with relatively little resources. Yet, current research shows that many local green initiatives struggle with collecting resources and often receive relatively little support from authorities. I believe that a little investment from authorities in supporting such groups can potentially realize important local effects with relatively little means.

With this blog post, I plead to see citizens’ green space initiatives as a local addition to management, rather than as a replacement. Authorities cannot just expect citizens to take over, however, they can probably benefit from the existing energy that citizens invest in the development and management of urban green space.

This blog post is authored by Thomas Mattijssen and is a part of the #EFUF2016 blog competition.

Featured photo by East Hudson.

Why and how to blog for the #EFUF2016 blog competition?

So, you heard that there is a blog competition going on in the scope on the European Forum on Urban Forestry 2016 conference in Slovenia and you’d like to get involved, but don’t know how? Or maybe you’re having some second thoughts about the time it takes? Look no more, this short guide is for you!

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Why write?

  • There is a prize! If you win, you will get the chance to visit beautiful Slovenia and European Green Capital 2016 Ljubljana! The best blog post will be awarded a free full conference package, including excursion on Saturday the June 4 2016.
  • You are going to become a part of a group of scientists, researchers and practitioners involved in urban forestry and green infrastructure from all over the world.
  • You will present you scientific, professional work or project to a wide audience of interested people. You never know who reads your blog and where new opportunities arise!

How to win?

  • Write a compelling story – don’t be afraid to think out of the box and get creative.
  • Provide good quality photographs and/or illustrations – they are strongly encouraged and crucial if you want to win.
  • Submit your blog as soon as possible – more time online, more time to shine 🙂
  • Share, share and share your blog with as many people as possible!

How to submit? | What are the rules?

We are looking forward to reading your blog. See you around!

 

#EFUF2016 blog competition rules

Each competition entry will be an individual blog post on #EFUF2016 blog. The winners will be determined in two steps:

Step 1:

The first selection of the top ten posts will be based on the appreciation of your blog post by the online public. The top 10 posts are going to be picked based on:

  • How many comments each blog post gets (We encourage quality “dialogue” and exchange of views);
  • How many likes you blog post gets (you can only “Like” a post if you have a wordpress.com account)
  • How many “Facebook shares” the post gets (How many people clicked on the “FB” button below the post);
  • How many “LinkedIn shares” the post gets;
  • How many times your blogpost was viewed (WordPress.com statistics).

The “First selection score” (FSC) will be calculated with the formula:

FSC = (5 * #Comments) + (2* #Likes) + (#FB) + (#LinkedIn) + (0,5 * #Views)

#LinkedIn and #FB represent shares (as visible on the buttons below the blog posts). We reserve the right to change the formula in case of extremely high view numbers. We reserve the right to disqualify blog posts on the grounds of serious suspicion of cheating/hacking.

Step 2:

The blog posts are going to be evaluated by the #EFUF2016 editorial board. The editorial board consists of scientists and experts in the fields of Urban Forestry, other Life Sciences and Communications. They will, individually, score each blog entry based on the theme or initiative you presented (originality, impact, sustainability…) and the way you presented the title theme in a blogpost. The individual judges’ scores will be combined to make the final score.

The editorial board will give another 50% of final score on the top 10 posts (final selection).

***International women’s day opportunity: All blog posts issued from March 8 till March 15th written by women will receive a 10% increase to the final score of their blogs!***

#EFUF2016 editorial board: Dr. Andrej Verlič, Dr. Urša Vilhar, M.Sc. Špela Planinšek, Saša Vochl, Boris Rantaša, Anita Mašek

The final grade consists 50% of online public selection and 50% of editorial board score.

A warm invitation to the European Forum on Urban Forestry 2016

The Slovenian Forestry Institute, the City of Ljubljana (European Green Capital 2016) and the Slovenia Forest Service are hosting the 19th European Forum on Urban Forestry conference with the lead theme “Urban forests for resilient cities”. The Forum will take place in Ljubljana and Celje, Slovenia, from May 31 to June 4 2016.

The European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF) is an annual event that started 19 years ago. It provides a meeting place for practitioners, scientists and educators involved with the planning, design and management of urban forests – from woodlands to urban parks and street trees. Participants come from across Europe, as well as from other parts of the world – this year, scientists from North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China and others are registered to participate.

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Dr. Andrej Verlič, Head of EFUF2016 Organising Committee

Each Forum takes a general and a few specific themes where urban forestry can contribute and discuss. This year’s themes are the resilience of cities, public health and well-being, governance and management of urban forest and trees, and how they could bring the city to a spotlight – the promotion of a city. The first edition of the EFUF was held in Wuppertal, Germany, in 1998. The cities that hosted Forum are Aarhus, Budapest, Durham, Trondheim, Arnhem, Stockholm, Celje, Florence, Gelsenkirchen, Hämeenlinna, Arnhem, Tulln, Glasgow, Leipzig, Milano, Lausanne and Brussels.

The 2016 EFUF will be held in the City of Ljubljana and in the City of Celje. In Celje they are going to demonstrate the development of their local urban forestry since first hosting EFUF in 2005! You are going to enjoy the venue of Ljubljana Castle, an eminent location on top of the forested hill in the centre of the city, visit the city forests, parks and other green infrastructure and get to know some of the brilliant nature-based solutions that brought Ljubljana the title of European Green Capital for 2016. In Celje, you will visit their city forests, learn about the development of the brand Mestni gozd Celje (Town forest Celje) and see the most enchanting forest tree house in Slovenia. There’s more – you will take a boat cruise on Ljubljanica river from the very center of the City and visit some magnificent regional parks in Slovenia on the Saturday excursion. Which ones? Stay tuned – it’s still a secret 😉

We know that there are many interesting things happening in cities and around them all over the world and many new scientific evidence has been collected during the last decade. We want to bring those in the spotlight – at the conference or on this EFUF 2016 blog. Why not take advantage of both opportunities and share your achievements, ideas, solutions or examples?

On behalf of the Organising Committee, I warmly invite you to join EFUF 2016 in every possible way – on Facebook, on Twitter, write and comment on the #EFUF2016 blog and present your paper at the conference in Ljubljana!

Dr. Andrej Verlič, Slovenian Forestry Institute

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A view from Ljubljana Castle. Photo: Mark Doliner