Taking Action for Transformative Change in BioValue’s Arenas for Transformation

BioValue project continues its journey towards transformative change in spatial planning, moving from theory to practice thanks to the Arenas for Transformation’s contribution.

From September 6th to September 8th, BioValue partners gathered in Trento (Italy) to share updates regarding the stage of BioValue’s research and take part in several joint activities. The Fersina River, which flows in Trento and crosses one of the project’s three Arenas for Transformation, became the background scenery.

As BioValue continues its journey towards transformative change in spatial planning policies, the three Arenas represent the space to explore in practice BioValue analytical framework, based on the integration of spatial planning and management, economic and financial, and environmental assessment instruments.

In the spirit of this endeavour, another Transformation Action Workshop took place on the 8th of September, following up on the first one that took place in March.

Transformation Action Workshops are spaces of collective thinking for creating a common body of action-oriented knowledge and co-design transformative pathways.


Margarida Monteiro, Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico and Researcher at the Center for Innovation in Territory, Urbanism, and Architecture organized and conducted the workshop. Prof. Monteiro said: “The first set of workshops’ results showed us where each Arena is in the transition process towards biodiversity valuation in spatial planning. At that point, we needed to comprehend the implications of generating transformative change for the Arenas. This necessity served as the motivation for the second workshop.”

The aim of the second workshop was, therefore, to understand the contribution of the Arenas to BioValue’s spatial planning ambitions. To achieve the goal, each Arena was called to:

  1. Understand the most preeminent interventions for transformative change in relation to the main results identified in the first workshop.
  2. Explore BioValue spatial planning ambitions in light of the most preeminent interventions and the specific context.
  3. Identify potential transformative pathways, specifying the associated needs and expectations.

Margarida Monteiro commented: “The workshop results showed us that we cannot disregard local values and expectations and simply propose interventions without consideration. The power of collaboration and partnerships was highly acknowledged by the Arenas. The mere recognition that they are not alone in their transition process and the willingness to engage with divergent voices is a very positive step.”

Delving into the specific circumstances of each Arena, in the case of Mafra Municipality (Portugal), the partners’ perspective has underlined the necessity to redirect the focus towards ecosystem services in their upcoming planning cycle. Partners have stressed the importance of cross-sectorial collaboration as a critical factor for achieving success in this transition.

Similarly, in the Fersina River in Trento Municipality (Italy), partners have manifested the need for a shift in their thought process. They have realized that moving from merely reducing socioeconomic inequalities to actively promoting socioeconomic cohesion is paramount. This shift in mindset serves as the cornerstone for developing a unified and shared vision for the entire river system.

Meanwhile, in the context of Peatlands in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Federal State (Germany), local partners have identified the overarching need to adapt their current institutional planning systems. This adaptation should be based on recognizing both existing and potential biodiversity values as crucial elements in the context of climate change protection and mitigation.

A third Transformative Action Workshop will take place next May in Germany. Meanwhile, the three Arenas are replicating this workshop in their own communities, to continue to enact discussion and critical thinking necessary for a strategic and conscious approach to transformative change.

Read the full report on the Transformation Action Workshops II.

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