For the first time in history, more than 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas and it is estimated that by 2050 this percentage will rise to 70% compared to almost 30% in 1950 (United Nations Population Division, 2010). Together with the impact of climate change, this period of unprecedented urban growth is creating numerous environmental challenges for European cities due to the loss of urban biodiversity.
With the existing growth forecast, the demand for increasingly scarce natural resources does not stop growing. Cities consume 75% of the world’s natural resources and 80% of the global energy supply and produce approximately 75% of global carbon emissions.
In this scenario, the TURAS project was born in 2011 with the aim of making European cities and surrounding rural areas more resilient and sustainable in the face of the different challenges they face. TURAS brought together urban communities and businesses with local authorities and researchers to facilitate adaptive governance based on collaborative decision-making and behavioral change to facilitate the transition process. To ensure maximum impact and achieve significant results, project partners from 16 countries researched, developed, demonstrated and disseminated transition strategies and scenarios to help European cities and nearby rural areas achieve resilience.
11 European cities (Brussels, Dublin, London, Rome, Sofia, Ljubljana, Nottingham, Malaga, Rotterdam, Stuttgart and Aalborg) were involved in the TURAS pilot studies. These studies were focused on different fields, such as the adaptation and mitigation of climate change, the scarcity of natural resources and their sustainable use, urban sprawl and planning, green infrastructure, the development of a sustainable local economy (circuit economies short) and citizen participation in areas such as the use of marginal areas (abandoned lots and buildings) to increase urban biodiversity. Each city was focused on one of these aspects and after five years of project work they generated an integrated approach to urban resilience and sustainability. In Malaga, for example, BIOAZUL evaluated the city’s urban solid waste management practices from the point of view of the concept of “Integrated and Sustainable Solid Waste Management” (ISSWM).