Nature-based solutions in Zárate

Have you ever wondered where the world is going to fit over 9 billion people in 2050? If so, you´re not alone. Worldwide, professionals from many disciplines have pondered the same question. Adrian Puentes, partner, architect and urban planner at BD+P, states that when faced with this reality, we all must act collectively in every possible aspect of planning.

We live in a world that’s becoming increasingly more populous. One where nature is under more and more pressure from rapid urbanisation. As a result, solutions that contribute to more harmony between nature and people have never been more important. Or in other words, solutions that can help us make our cities greener, healthier and lovelier.

In light of our Greener cities awareness month, we’re highlighting the Argentinean project Zárate y la Huella del Delta (Zárate and the delta’s footprint). This project is one of the many initiatives worldwide that highlights the urgency and importance of said harmonisation, as well as the value of using wetlands for future prosperity of the local area and worldwide.

Sharing knowledge for a more resilient future

Some 100km from Buenos Aires lies a lush natural environment and thriving delta. Zárate is a port city on the western shore of the river Paraná. Its surrounding delta was the heart of a collaborative project, whereby the Netherlands shared knowledge with local parties to develop forward-looking solutions to ensure balance between nature and urban areas.

An important question that needs to be addressed: ‘how can we work with nature, not against it.’ That’s why the project leaders proposed solutions using philosophies, which the Netherlands also embraces: Nature Based Solutions (NbS), Building with Nature (BwN) and Room for the River (RftR).

To introduce that concept, local governmental agencies, knowledge institutions and NGOs all gathered in workshops, which then led to local regulation proposals, a strategic master plan covering 65,000 hectares and 40 possible projects to be implemented in the area.

Integrated solutions contribute to increased biodiversity.
“We should understand, as global citizens, that every action on the territory has to be very conscious about the impact we are producing in terms of ecology, economy and society. And finally we must learn how to balance our decisions regarding development, based on local knowledge and by following a multidisciplinary approach.”
Adrian Puentes

Green isn't always easy

Greening cities requires a long, thought-out process. It’s not enough to create innovative solutions that only cater to certain climates or environments. The key to making our world more healthy and sustainable lies in designing future-proof solutions that can be applied to any circumstances. Our planet is changing by the year, and if we do not act together, we will succumb to our own consequences.

In Zárate, for example, the proposed solutions focus on utilising water and wetlands for local benefit, by connecting the many islands in the delta to the mainland. What is key here is the consideration and respect to nature, along with the adoption of a holistic approach. Rivers, distinct landscapes and animal crossings all have to be taken into consideration.

Actions that can be taken to establish a future-proof delta include water and future security, restoration of riparian forests, integration of coastal vegetation, lowering river beds and reinforcing dykes.

“It all boils down to connecting these actions through strategies that introduce sustainable mobility, organic production, circularity and renewable energies.”
Adrian Puentes

The nature-based solutions applied to these projects allow for food and wood production to be exported to larger cities for the resident population. They also enable water in vulnerable areas to be managed and eco-tourism to be developed sustainably to further the local economy.

Collaboration as a key to a healthier future

Projects like Zárate y la Huella del Delta can only be realised through the collaboration of key players, from both the local and international community. The project, which covered three provinces, was entirely participatory, involving municipal, provincial and national authorities. With multi-disciplinary approaches, knowledge exchange and the motivation from local community, the balance between nature and urban developments can be ensured and respected as the world population increases.

Curious to know more about Dutch contributions to greener cities? Follow our Greener cities awareness campaign and help us spread the word! #GreenMindsThinkAlike

Hungry for more? Read about other Greener cities projects, such as Urban Landscapes Romania here

Get in touch and join us

Want to know more about how you can work together with the Netherlands to achieve your goals? Or how you can help contribute to or spread the word on campaigns, events and initiatives? Contact us directly at info@nlplatform.nl so we can help you connect to the right people.