Planting boxes
Tue, 07/07/2020

Innovation vouchers to encourage citizens’ NBS initiatives in Tampere

  • Tue, 07/07/2020

The City of Tampere launched in spring 2019 a call for small-scale nature-based solutions (NBS) projects by housing cooperatives and associations in the Vuores area to be financed by the city. This initiative was an attempt by the city to encourage local stakeholders and citizens to take the initiative to plan and implement small-scale NBS. Three proposals were awarded innovation vouchers worth up to € 10 000 to plan and realise the suggested NBS projects. These small-scale projects have been completed during the past year and the results can now be presented.

Three small-scale NBS projects were in summer 2019 awarded innovation vouchers by the City of Tampere. Two of the vouchers were used to develop garden areas near residential housing whilst the third voucher was used for the creation of a community horse park in the Vuores Central Park.

The innovation vouchers represent an interesting approach to enable local residents to co-design and co-implement small-scale NBS. Through this initiative, the city wanted to encourage citizens to take the initiative to plan and implement the nature-based solutions that they find useful for their environment. The city organised an official information session for interested citizens and the information was also disseminated through the city’s communication channels.

The garden areas funded by the innovation vouchers implemented trees and bushes, planter boxes for the residents to use, fruit trees and berry bushes, perennials and summer flowers, as well as areas to compost gardening waste and structures to harvest rain water for garden irrigation. The aim was to create safer, nicer and more communal areas for all residents to use and enjoy.

Common planting boxes

The residents of the buildings adjacent to the garden areas did most of the work themselves and used the funds from the innovation vouchers to purchase materials and transportation services needed for the construction work. Both housing cooperatives were very happy with the end results and agree that these collective projects have further enhanced the relations between the residents.

The third innovation voucher was used to establish a community horse park in the Vuores Central Park managed by the local Annisto stable. The horse park represents an example of how a green space can be managed for multipurpose use. The aim of the horse park is to promote citizen engagement in a natural setting, while also enabling residents to take part of and learn about the cultural heritage of the Vuores area. The horse park also aims to increase residents’ accessibility to outdoor activities, which otherwise may not be within their reach due to financial or social reasons. Interaction with horses has also been shown to enhance peoples’ well-being and general health, which is one of the objectives of the horse park. UNaLab partners will examine management effects on biodiversity in this multi-use green space.

The inclusion of innovation vouchers in Tampere’s NBS business model proved to be a successful approach and solution to engage citizens to a greater extent in the city’s NBS efforts. This solution can easily be replicated in other cities or contexts, when small- or medium-scale NBS are implemented.

If you are interested in learning more about business models and financing strategies for NBS, we invite you to read this report.