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Urban strategies for Waste Management in Tourist Cities

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - UrBAN-WASTE (Urban strategies for Waste Management in Tourist Cities)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2019-05-31

The URBAN-WASTE project aimed at developing eco-innovative and gender sensitive waste prevention and management strategies in cities with high levels of tourism in order to reduce the urban waste production and improve municipal waste management. These strategies are intended to facilitate the reintroduction of waste as a resource into the urban metabolism flows and to address waste management, risk prevention and land-use as an integral part of urban development.

In comparison with other cities, tourist cities face additional challenges related to waste prevention and management due to their geographical and climatic conditions, the seasonality of tourism flow and the specificity of tourism industry and of tourists as waste producers. These challenges pose negative environmental, social and economic impacts in such cities that the project aims to alleviate.

In doing so, URBAN-WASTE achieved its specific objectives by adopting an urban metabolism perspective to understand how cities are influenced by tourism and related waste generation, identifying and analyzing best practices in waste prevention and management and generating better understanding on behavior from tourists, and tourism and waste industry professionals towards waste production and management. It also fostered and structured a stakeholder participatory framework for policy-making, developed a set of eco-innovative and gender sensitive strategies, including ICT tools, increased the skills of professionals from the waste and tourism industries through knowledge-sharing, and assessed the environmental, social and economic impacts to strengthen replicability in other EU tourist cities facing similar pressures.
The starting point of the project were the tasks implemented under WP2. The project has first performed a metabolic analysis of eleven paradigmatic tourist urban areas: Nice (FR), Lisbon (PT), Syracuse (IT), Copenhagen (DK), Kavala (GR), Santander (ES), Nicosia (CY) and Ponta Delgada (PT), Dubrovnik-Neretva County (HR), Tenerife (ES) and Tuscany Region (IT). Through this, the project analyzed how tourism activities together with urban patterns, drivers, consumer behavior, lifestyles, culture, architecture and socio-economic issues can influence the metabolism of the cities. Thus, a database was produced to assess the baseline conditions of each pilot city in terms of tourist waste production and total urban waste production before the implementation of the URBAN-WASTE strategies. On the other hand, WP3 activities ensured an active engagement of stakeholders in a transversal way throughout all project activities. They were involved in a situation and behavioral analysis to understand how lifestyles, cultural and socio-economic background and gender affect consumption and use of resource patterns. In total, over 500 policy makers, researchers, representatives of the industry and of the civil society, individual citizens and tourists were mobilized into Community of Practices to foster the co-development, co-implementation and co-monitoring of the strategies.

Within WP4, the outcomes of the urban metabolism analysis and the results of the participatory process were adapted and integrated for the identification of eco-innovative, inclusive and gender sensitive waste prevention and management strategies, addressing three main target groups: citizens and tourists, tourism operators and service providers and representatives from waste management services. In this way, 3 key tools were produced for potential replicability: i) pilot forms, containing waste and tourism data from the pilot cases to provide context; ii) measure forms, comprising 22 waste management and prevention strategies, including the ICT tools developed under WP5, namely an interactive mobile application (WasteApp), interactive maps layers and a Food waste tracking device; and iii) policy-makers forms, to support their integration into waste management plans.

Eventually, each city or region implemented 3-5 strategies (WP6) over a period that ranged between 4 months to 1 year, depending on the type of measure and pilot case. Each strategy involved a strong communication campaign and was backed by an Operative Plan and settled by a Public-Private Partnership between the local authorities and stakeholders who, together with project partners, monitored the results that would feed the assessment of environmental, social and economic impact performed under WP7. Such assessment showcased that all strategies, to a greater or lesser extent, resulted in a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and constituted overall positive impacts in awareness raising potential, job satisfaction and capacity building of employees, among other factors. On the other hand, despite the limited available data, in general the economic impact assessment showed that most strategies require low economic investments and cost saving opportunities were identified.

With these results in mind, the replication potential of the strategies into other EU cities was assessed and provided insights on the different factors affecting it and the importance of adapting to the local context for the successful implementation. In order to optimize dissemination and exploitation of this and rest of project results, a series of capacity building activities took place and guidelines for policy makers were developed, along with a comprehensive dissemination and communication strategy (WP8) designed to reach at EU level all the different target groups addressed in the project.
URBAN-WASTE successfully developed a series of eco-innovative and gender sensitive waste prevention and management measures that, through the urban metabolism approach, contributes to reduce pressures that pilot cities and regions face from tourism and demonstrate their potential replicability into other EU cities.

The research activity performed produced a basis for further studies and research on urban metabolism and on its application to waste management. The knowledge produced in the project concerns mainly:
1) The operationalizing the urban metabolism approach – represented by the methodology and the database template developed under WP2;
2) The waste prevention and management strategies developed within WP4, implemented and monitored through WP6, and evaluated in WP7.

Before its commence, URBAN-WASTE aimed at reaching around 20 million tourists in the pilot areas. Three years later, approximately 7.655.000 are estimated to have been reached through the strategies tested and strong dissemination and communication campaigns. From this, an important lesson learnt implies that a longer implementation phase is expected to multiply the reach-out effect. Despite the successful stakeholder participatory approach applied, additional stakeholders from pilot cases and policy makers from outside the project consortium were showing interest in replicating the strategies. This being enhanced through the dissemination of all project results and in particular of the guidelines for policy makers and measure forms, which allow to easily understand and replicate the steps followed in URBAN-WASTE.

This major impact has been strengthened by determining the positive environmental, social and economic impacts of the strategies, and by increasing the skills of the staff from public authorities and other stakeholders and enabling the sharing of expertise among them.
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