Moving towards transformative change in BioValue’s Arenas for Transformation

BioValue project continues its research activities to enact transformative change in spatial policy and planning processes to enhance biodiversity value. It goes on mapping the landscape of the Arenas for Transformation processes of change.

BioValue considers three instrumental (and integrated) perspectives: spatial planning and management, economic and financial, and environmental assessment instruments. The aim is to safeguard and enhance biodiversity through transformative change in spatial policymaking, planning practices and infrastructure development, upscaling opportunities for valuing biodiversity in support of EU strategic actions on biodiversity.

BioValue explores in practice the transformative potential of spatial policymaking and planning for increasing biodiversity values to society through three Arenas for Transformation – Mafra Municipality (Portugal), Fersina River in Trento Municipality (Italy), and Peatlands in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Federal State (Germany). The Arenas act as pioneers and provide powerful insights on how the three instrumental perspectives interact and how they can be better integrated, unlocking knowledge for understanding multi-level patterns for biodiversity valuation.

In this context, last March, the first Transformation Action Workshop was held in Copenhagen.

Transformation Action Workshops are designed as spaces of collective thinking to co-create action-oriented knowledge and transformative pathways throughout BioValue’s Arenas.

The workshops are meant to support the three Arenas for Transformation with the functional logic of transformative change and promote the joint application of the three instrumental perspectives.

Margarida Monteiro, Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico and Researcher in the Center for Innovation in Territory, Urbanism, and Architecture, and Karla Locher-Krause, Researcher at the Hemholtz Centre for Environmental Research, jointly designed and conducted the workshop.

Prof. Monteiro commented: “With BioValue, and in the Arenas, we want to promote co-creation settings that discuss transformative change for valuing biodiversity. But to talk about this, especially in the context of spatial planning, we first need to know where we are, what we have, who is already there and can support us in our transformation process. Only then will we have the knowledge that allows us to prioritise interventions for change. This, specifically, was our rationale – to raise the ‘big’ question of what is going on in our territories?“.

During the first Transformation Action Workshop, building on previous works developed by Drift and EIT Climate-KIC, BioValue was inspired to talk about change using the X-Curve visual tool. For each Arena, the BioValue team mapped out current activities, interventions and practices that may be impacting biodiversity. They reflected on what needs to be phased in and out, and consequently, on how to move forward to start developing the Arenas’ transformation strategy. Together, the Arenas for Transformation identified six transversal needs for follow-up based on the Arenas’ expectations:

  1. the importance of understanding the different perceptions at stake;
  2. promote cross-sectoral approaches to spatial planning;
  3. policymakers/landowners to take ownership of their territories while recognising the possible uses of valued biodiversity;
  4. relational approaches to promote cooperation and collaboration among different levels of decision;
  5. raise awareness on biodiversity and nature in a positive and informed way; and
  6. overcome current thinking that ‘green does not have an economic value’ and does not ‘represent development’.

Dr. Locher-Krause explained: “The Transformation Action Workshop allowed us to identify and understand key initiatives, factors and processes that can enable the achievement of each arena’s transformative vision as well as those that need to be phased out. This inclusive dialogue facilitates the codesign of initiatives and interventions to foster desirable collective narratives towards transformative change at the local level.”


Throughout May, the three Arena will replicate this workshop in their own communities. And over the coming months they will set out their specific transformation strategies.

Other workshops are planned in Germany, Italy, and Portugal, where the three Arenas are located. The aim is to involve different actors and agents of change, from different sectors of society, and engage them in BioValue process of transformative change.

Read the full report on the Transformation Action Workshop I

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