The Green4C Business Innovation Challenge

The Green4C Business Innovation Challenge

A unique opportunity to make green care innovative ideas growing

Co-funded by the Erasmus+ of the European Union, Green4C is a Knowledge Alliance project promoting nature-based solutions for health, wellbeing, and social inclusion. Bringing together universities, businesses, and organisations, Green4C wants to provide interdisciplinary skills and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in Green Care.

The term Green Care refers to a “range of activities that promotes physical and mental health and well-being through contact with nature”. In the last few decades, a growing body of research is demonstrating the benefits of the contact with nature on health and wellbeing. Green Care can improve mental and physical health, representing an efficient tool for public health issues. In addition, activities such as social farming or community gardening can promote social inclusion and address other social issues.

Recognising the central role of nature for the development of a healthier and more sustainable future, Green4C seeks to foster Green Care as an efficient answer to environmental, health, and social concerns.

To stimulate the creation of innovative Green Care initiatives, the Green4C team has produced an interesting new opportunity, the Business Innovation Challenge (BIC). The BIC is a free competition for anyone with innovative ideas involving nature, health, and wellbeing. Participants will compete by presenting their business or projects ideas to promote the health and social benefits of nature. Ideas can involve one or more Green4C thematic sectors, i.e., Forest-based care, Urban green care, Social agriculture, and Green care tourism.

Winners of the BIC will gain access to the Green4C Summer School. The Summer School is a high specialisation course taking place in Italy (from the 20th of June to the 8th of July 2022), at the Agripolis campus of the University of Padova. Top European experts in Green Care will be sharing knowledge and best practices on entrepreneurship, forestry, nature-based solutions, health, and much more. The aim of this course is to give students all the necessary tools to realise innovative Green Care initiatives. Only 25 participants will be selected for the Summer School.

The deadline to participate in the BIC is the 3rd of April 2022, at 23.59 CEST. To apply, participants must fill out the application form, which includes the presentation of their business or project idea in Green Care. Learn all the details about the BIC on

A tree awakening – Call for Action

A tree awakening – Call for Action

Click here for the full recording of the tree awakening.

Did you know that urban trees and forests provide vital infrastructure for healthy and happy people? Are you aware that they are protecting and enhancing biodiversity and co-creating a climate-adapted built environment?

Three recently awarded ‘Tree Cities of the World’; City of Ljubljana, Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) and Brussels Capital Region are taking the lead on promoting the crucial role of urban trees towards greener and more resilient cities and urban regions. The three cities and regions differ in character but have demonstrated a commitment to urban trees within the framework of urban forestry, green infrastructure and the enhancement of local ecosystem services. 

The ‘tree awakening’ is a partner event of the EU Green Week. The  European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF), European Forest Institute (EFI) and CLEARING HOUSE project, brought together these three cities and regions to kick-off anactivity – focus – celebration of trees and to build and strengthen existing relationships across Europe. The ‘tree awakening’ event invited practitioners, researchers, policymakers, journalists and citizens eager to explore ways to work together towards a greener and more resilient future in cities.

Christophe Vanoerbeek, the Brussels Mobility CEO said:

Brussels is regularly cited as one of the greenest cities in Europe, with an impressive surface area of 4,000 hectares of green spaces. Brussels Mobility manages 30,000 trees along the main roads. To increase the ecosystemic benefits (landscape, biodiversity, water infiltration, shading, heat reduction, CO2 capture, etc.), we encourage the development of high trees. The management of plantations has evolved enormously to take into account biodiversity and new methods. For example, Brussels Mobility takes care of +/- 15 hectares of ecological zones and flower meadows.”

Antoni Farrero, General Coordinator of the Technical Office of Management of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB), added:

“Belonging to international networks, such as the European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF) or the Tree Cities of the World, encourages us to continue working towards the renaturation of urban fabrics, the reinforcement of green infrastructure and the promotion of ecosystem services.”

Nataša Jazbinšek Seršen, Head of Department for Environmental Protection at the City of Ljubljana, continued:

“Looking at Ljubljana is looking at a city of the future! Numerous city trees and forests connect us, contribute to the health and well-being of citizens and give a unique backdrop to the Green capital.”

Call for Action:

We urge citizens and local leaders and decision-makers across urban regions in Europe to be inspired and step up towards recognising, building awareness, communicating and taking ownership of the benefits of urban trees for all living being in a city.
  • It’s not just planting but caring: There’s much more to enhancing urban green then just planting trees – caring for, respecting, and ensuring a long lifetime of an urban tree is crucial to ensure it develops its ecosystem potential. However, urban tree care remains a great challenge for those managing urban regions.
  • Caring for life – from seed to soil: Brought up in nurseries, going through adolescence and calling for pruning from time to time, dispersing seeds and finally returning back to the soil. A tree’s life is not that different from ours – and calls for a lifetime of care.
  • Trees – you get more than you see: Green space planning needs to focus on the benefits of trees both individually and when growing together. Considering trees as an ecological umbrella covering an urban region is fundamental to understanding their overall benefit to society.
  • Big Trees Matter: Urban regions need veteran trees as these provide the most ecosystem services and are the most important to people. Whilst planting new trees is important the loss of a mature tree before its lifetime is over takes generations to recover.

Elisabeth Pötzelsberger, Head of Resilience at the European Forest Institute (EFI) and Chris Baines, environmental campaigner, award-winning writer and broadcaster opened up the event, joined by high-level representatives from the European Union, the ‘Tree Cities of the World’ representatives from Slovenia, Spain, Belgium and international urban forestry experts.

Chris Baines reported:

“Mature trees have been breathing life into our towns and cities for centuries. Now, in the face of climate change, increasingly extreme weather patterns, relentless development pressure and stressful urban living, the moderating role they play is more important than ever.”

Speaker Session

Please click on the titles to have a look at the detailed presentations:

Thomas Randrup, professor in Urban Open Space Management and Head of Subject for Landscape Governance and Management at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) shed light on the importance of moving from Nature-Based Solutions to Nature-Based Thinking. He emphasised:

“Nature-based Thinking is a way to address Nature-based Solutions as places in their own right rather than installations, helping them to become more resilient and sustainable.”

Simone Borelli, Agroforestry and Urban/Periurban Forestry Officer at the Forestry Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), presented the ‘Tree Cities of the World’ and stated:

“It is time to shift paradigm. Urban forests and trees should no longer be seen as a cost, but as an investment in the future of cities. The Tree Cities of the World programme celebrates the achievements of the cities that are taking steps in the right direction.”

Cecil. C. Konijnendijk van den Bosch, global urban forester and director of the Nature-Based Solutions Insitute (NBSI) introduced the 3-30-300 rule, shared his experience on the importance of trees in cities and explained:

 “For someone who has worked in urban forestry for almost three decades, it is exciting to see the current ‘tree awakening’ across Europe, as we have come to realise how important trees are for our health, wellbeing, and happiness.”

During an interactive Q&A session, participants had the opportunity to engage in discussions with the speakers, moderated by John Parker, CEO at the Arboricultural Association. This was followed by a technical panel discussion moderated by Clive Davies, Convenor of the EFUF International Steering Group, Senior Researcher, Advisor and Facilitator at European Forest Institute (EFI) Governance and Resilience Programmes and CLEARING HOUSE project, which explored the opportunities and challenges of managing trees in urban regions. The virtual stage featured insights by Nejc Praznik, Consulting arborist at JP VOKA SNAGA, Ljubljana, Valérie Decoux, Bio-Engineer at the Brussels Mobility, Public Service of the Brussels Capital Region and Antoni Farrero, General Coordinator of the Technical Office of Management of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB).

The ‘tree awakening’ opened an inspiring and positive discourse about the manifold benefits and challenges of managing trees in urban regions without dodging difficult questions. The insights and discussions serve as an impulse and starting point to awake consciousness and activate decision-makers to take practical action on transforming concrete jungles towards liveable shared spaces with multifunctional, interconnected and open, accessible green spaces for all.

As part of the ‘tree awakening’ self-guided tree discovery walks have been created for the City of Ljubljana, the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) and the Brussels Capital Region. These walks are designed to help the public explore the trees in these areas, whether as residents in-situ, virtual or actual visitors.

The self-guided tree discovery walks are presented through the ActionBound app and are intended as an inspiration to other urban regions to produce further walks.

The walks can be explored at any time through the ActionBound app.

Download the app by clicking on this link or scanning the QR-Code:

Access the tree discovery walks by clicking on the links below or by scanning the QR-Codes:

Brussels Capital Region

English version:

Dutch version:

French version:

Barcelona Metropolitan Area

English version:

Catalan version:

Spanish version:

City of Ljubljana

English version:

Slovenian version:

Further contact:

A tree awakening – 11 June

A tree awakening – 11 June

Partner Event of the #EUGreenWeek, European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF), European Forest Institute (EFI) and CLEARING HOUSE project

A tree on your doorstep is a forest in your mind.

Register here to be part of the tree awakening.

The City of Ljubljana, the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) and the Brussels Capital Region have all recently been awarded Tree Cities of the World status (TCoW). Bringing together the three cities as a partner event of the EU Green Week, European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF), European Forest Institute (EFI) and CLEARING HOUSE project, invite you to join an online ‘tree awakening’ activity – focus – celebration of trees to build and strengthen existing relationships at a continental level.

The 2-hour interactive online event is targeted at practitioners, researchers, policymakers and everyone eager to explore ways to work together towards a greener and more resilient future in cities around Europe and beyond.

The ‘tree awakening’ will follow the main theme of the life of a tree in the city, which will be explored by a range of high-level speakers and throughout a technical panel discussion, where participants have the opportunity to engage in an interactive Q&A session.

To round off the ‘tree awakening’, attendees and urban adventurers are invited to explore trees and forests around the City of Ljubljana, the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB) and the Brussels Capital Region from anywhere around the globe or in-situ to as a self-guided tree discovery excursion to learn about the manifold opportunities and challenges urban green encompasses in these three areas.


11 June, 10:30-12:30 CEST

10:30 Opening

10:50 Speaker Session

Moderator: John ParkerArboricultural Association

  • Moving from Nature Based Solutions to Nature Based Thinking – Thomas Randrup (SLU)
  • Tree cities of the world – Simone Borelli (FAO)
  • The 3-30-300 rule – Cecil. C. Konijnendijk van den Bosch (NBSI)
  • Q&A Session with speakers

10-minutes comfort break

11:40 Technical Panel Discussion

Opportunities and Challenges of Managing Trees in Cities

Moderator and Interviewer: Clive Davies (EFIEFUFCH)

12:15 Introducing the ActionBound Discovery Walks in the City of Ljubljana, Brussels Capital Region and Barcelona Metropolitan Area & Closing

  • ActionBound Introduction – Vera Franziska Knill (EFI/EFUF) and brief introduction of discovery walks by city representatives
  • Closing Words by Clive Davies (EFIEFUFCH)

We are looking forward to seeing you online.

Gender Equality in Urban Forestry – Reality or Utopia? (May 10)

Gender Equality in Urban Forestry – Reality or Utopia? (May 10)

On May 10, an international round of panellists joined online from Switzerland, Belgium and Canada to discuss about Gender Equality in Urban Forestry.

Access the full recording here.

Moderated by Jerylee Wilkes-Allemann (Bern University of Applied Sciences), the webinar focused on gender differences in the professional domain of forestry, arboriculture and other typical or less typical activities. Four panellists shared their insights with us:

The panellists discussed about the importance of empowerment for individuals and communities, role models, confidence building and workplace policies. After a vivid discussion and insightful comments from attendees around Europe sharing their personal experiences regarding gender equality in their daily working life, the panellists concluded that opening the discussion and enhancing visibility is crucial for further steps on the way to promoting gender equality.

Learn more about other exciting upcoming Urban Forestry events here:

Gender Equality in Urban Forestry – Reality or Utopia? (May 10)

Under the trees, into the woods – International Summer School in Ghent, Belgium (August 19-27, 2021)

Deadline for Application: May 15, 2021

Worldwide, urbanised regions are looking for strategies to plant more trees and forests in order to enlarge the urban forest cover. In the light of climate change and the transition to resilient territories, there is a growing understanding of the importance of trees and forests for society.

Flanders (the northern part of Belgium) is one of the least forested areas in Europe and does not succeed in increasing the forest cover. It seems as if there is no space for more trees and forests in this urbanized region, characterized by an extensive urban sprawl and heterogeneous landscape where nearly every square metre of land is intensively occupied. Yet there is quite a lot of space where trees and forests can grow. However, this space often remains ‘invisible‘ because it is related to other types of land use or is ‘untouchable’ because of sectoral claims. There is, with other words, a need to find new spatial systems to intertwine more trees and forests within the built-up fabric.

The aim of the summer school is to explore possibilities and test concepts for tree and forest configurations in an urbanized territory. The focus will be on the interfaces between trees/forest and other types of land use. This means the interfaces where for example housing/working/food production/ mobility meet up and interact with trees and forest, where synergies can arise but ‘frictions‘ as well. Guiding principles are the spatial characteristics of trees and forests, process characteristics and the multitude of contributions that trees and forests provide to people (also refered to as ‘ecosystem services’). The focus will be on landscape-architectural and social-ecological aspects.

During the course of this summer school, a range of lectures of both international and local experts will ‘feed’ the design process. A reader, together with a Treescape Atlas of the study area and a Treescape Catalogue will be provided to the participants before the start of the summer school.

The summer school is linked to the ongoing Treescape research project, focusing on the exploration of new strategies and concepts to intertwine trees and forests in urbanized territories.

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash


Drs. Bjoke Carron, Prof. Hans Leinfelder, Prof. Jos Van Orshoven (KU Leuven)

With contributions and supervision of Martine De Maeseneer (KU Leuven/ MDMA), Prof. Marta Labastida (University of Minho). Other supervisors and lectures of (international) experts are to be confirmed.


Arrival: before August 19th 2021 Summer school: August 19th-27th 2021

Departure: after August 27th 2021

Application and deadline

Eligible for participation are all (international) master students, recent graduates and young researchers in the fields of Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Urban Design or Urban Planning and Forestry.

Deadline for application: May 15th 2021

Confirmation of acceptance: May 31st 2021

Interested candidates should send their CV, a motivation letter (maximum 300 words in English), including maximum 3 images (150 dpi), to bjoke.


Students enrolled in programmes at participating universities: no registration fee. The participation fee is 200 euros for students who are not connected to the KUL or the University of Minho, but that this amount could be (partly) dropped if the Summer School were to be (partly) online.

Given the current condition of the Covid-19 pandemic worldwide, all summer schools are currently organized with prejudice.

For more information, contact:

Check out the project’s Facebook page:

Gender Equality in Urban Forestry – Reality or Utopia? (May 10)

Reimagining Future Cities – The Green Way (webinar 22 March)

Join in Europe – Monday, March 22, 2021 | 1:00 AM Brussels (CET)

This international conference, with a focal point on China and the US, will discuss the science, policies and practices enabling urban environments to meet local, national and global goals to create cleaner, greener, healthier and more beautiful cities. Innovators from a wide range of disciplines in the public and private sectors will present on this crucial topic.
The conference will be planned by Trella Urban Forestry Technology, a naturebased solutions company based in Shanghai and New York City, growing and providing tree-based solutions to Chinese cities,and Nature Based Solutions Institute, a global urban forestry consulting firm based in Malmo, Sweden. Please mark your calendars and join us to explore tomorrow’s green urban solutions, today.

Register through

You can read the conference brochure here.

Selected Speakers

  • Adrian Benepe: Brooklyn Botanic Garden President, 14th Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks & RecreationProfessor Alan Simson: Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture and Urban Forestry at Leeds Beckett University
  • Alex Lin: Chairman, Les Enphants Co. Ltd., a Taiwan-based global retailer of children’s apparel and accessories
  • Dr. Baohua Yan: Secretary General of Mangrove Foundation
  • Dr. Cecil Konijnendijk: Founder, Nature Based Solutions Institute, Program Director of University of British Columbia’s Masters in Urban Forestry Leadership, Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Arboriculture & Urban Forestry”
  • Dr. Cheng Wang: Director of the Urban Forest Research Center of State Forestry Administration, China and the Chinese Academy of Forestry
  • Dr. Fan Dai: Director, California – China Climate Institute
  • Dr. Guangyu Wang: Associate Dean and Director of Asian Forest Research Centre at the University of British Columbia
  • Dr. Jessica Gordon: Climate Policy Fellow, California-China Climate Institute
  • Jonathan Krane: CEO of KraneShares and Trella, a China-focused investment manager
  • Ken Alex: Director of Project Climate at Berkeley Law and former Senior Policy Advisor to California Governor Jerry Brown
  • Michael McComb: Vice President, Communications and Sustainability, SAP Greater China
  • Raymond Fang: Director of Sustainability at Asia Pulp & Paper Co. Ltd
  • Dr. Stefano Boeri: Architect and urban planner, Founding Partner of Stefano Boeri Architetti, Professor at Politecnico di Milano, Chairman of Fondazione La Triennale di Milano, former Councillor for Culture in Milan
  • Terry Townshend: Member of the Beijing Urban Forestry Network, Beijing conservationist, founder of Birding Beijing, consultant on wildlife conservation and environmental law, and an advisor to the Paulson Institute and to the Beijing government on a project to protect and restore the capital’s biodiversity
  • Willy Gallia: Chief Sustainability Officer at the Schneider Group