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RENATUR - Improving regional policies to better protect the natural heritage of peri-urban open spaces
Geoscientists of the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) coordinate the new Interreg Europe project "RENATUR - Improving regional policies to better protect the natural heritage of peri-urban open spaces". Together with six other partners in Europe, the project draws attention to the importance of open spaces on the outskirts of cities and further develop existing policy instruments that promote a green support infrastructure and strengthen biodiversity. For a period of four years, the European Regional Development Fund spends 1.27 million €. The MLU receives with almost 380,000 €, the largest share of the funding.

All over Europe, large cities are growing while the countryside is being abandoned. This is accompanied by a loss of open spaces in the cities, but also on the outskirts of cities, for example through sewage treatment plants, industrial areas or shopping centres. This not only harms biodiversity and air quality in the cities and the surrounding area, but also reduces the number of ecosystem services for the residents and thus impacts negatively their life quality.

RENATUR aims to preserve these areas as natural heritage and further develop policy instruments for the protection of urban nature. This should reduce biodiversity loss and soil sealing. Furthermore, the fragmentation of ecosystems will be reduced. Green infrastructure should become part of urban planning. The process involves political actors and local residents. Besides universities, agencies for
rural development and regional decision-makers such as the Ministry of
Land Development and Transport in Saxony-Anhalt.

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