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A Quick Recap of a Busy 2023 Year

Updated: Jan 17

This year we collaborated with dozens of new and long-established partners and cities to test ideas that have the potential to change supply and demand systems in forests and built environments. A key focus of 2023 was the concept of "systemic collaboration" which turns our attention to re-designing the systems and relationships within which we work together. You can also read some of our media headlines at the very end of this post.

 

CO-CREATING THE “CONSERVATION TIMBER” VALUE CHAIN IN MEXICO


In partnership with Rainforest Alliance, Cities4Forests hosted an extraordinary event on June 15th & 16th in the Selva Maya (a.k.a. The Mayan Jungle). The goal: building the capacity of the ‘ejidos’ (locally community forest management units) to supply conservation timber to the world, while showcasing how important this timber is globally to forest conservation and climate. A broad spectrum of stakeholders - including ejido community leaders, youth, conservation NGOs and government officials - were brought together to co-create a more resilient value chain connecting the sustainable production of ejidos community-based conservation system with the demands of the rapidly developing real estate sector in the region. Together, they discussed how protecting this forest landscape can work for the people who own and manage it, while conserving biodiversity and contributing to the planetary health we all depend on. They reaffirmed this common commitment and began to co-create a schematic design for how to get there. This endeavour will require significant long-term and systemic collaboration – to learn more about how we can make this happen you can read more here.



 

CONSERVATION TIMBER MEETS URBAN PLACEMAKING IN TURIN’S PARTNER FOREST PROGRAM


As part of Turin’s Partner Forest program, Torino Stratosferica, the City of Turin (Italy) and Cities4Forests brought together over one hundred volunteers over six days of workshops to build a new urban space from conservation timber to help establish a connection to the city’s Partner Forest of Bambidié, Gabon. The public opening event of Corso Farini was held on Friday 5 May and was attended by more than 1000 people. The site’s cultural programming is set to continue on Thursday evenings throughout the summer and will include selected talks on how cities can connect to forests near and far. Read more about the project here, and watch the placemaking video here


Stratosferica team and volunteers on the construction site at Corso Farini. Watch the beautiful video documentary.


 

WOOD AT WORK COPENHAGEN / UIA CONFERENCE ROUNDTABLE


At this year's first Wood@Work conference, hosted in conjunction with UIA World Congress of Architects in July, we hosted a series of conversations on urban consumption and how to co-create systems that link flourishing rural landscapes with thriving cities. Can cities consume products and resources in a way that truly supports forest economies and people? What roles do culture, regulation and technology play in mediating these connections? Experts from around the world brought their unique experiences, challenges and visions for the role of sustainable wood in urban development in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America. We were encouraged to see everyone learn from one another and enthusiastically embrace systemic collaboration as we design new ways to build with and on each others’ energy and experience.


The conversation was exceptionally rich. You can watch the video and also find an audio version here: www.woodatwork.ca/year-2023 


Our  collaborative workshops at UIA  brought together experts in a wide range of forest and timber sectors


 

COPENHAGEN PARTNER FOREST LAUNCH


Following Wood@Work, our Copenhagen Partner Forest launch gathered honored guests from all over the world, including a delegation from the Congo. Using conservation timber from a partner forest in Mozambique, we supplied wood to construct a raft pavilion, an exciting, publicly accessible component of Copehagen’s iconic harbor.  The wood was also used to construct part of the FSC pavilion at UIA. The event demonstrated how a connection between major cities – with their creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and high-density – and community forest enterprises, with their profound mission, entrepreneurship and innovation, can lead to mutually beneficial results: tropical forests conserved through the strategic procurement of products like conservation timber, and beautiful infrastructure created by partners like CPH Raft!


We came away encouraged that with creativity and courage, cities and the people who build them can support people all over the world who are struggling to keep forests intact for their livelihoods, culture and the planet. We are all on this raft (read: Earth) together! 


Watch the video recap of the Launch event here.


 

WOOD AT WORK @ NEW YORK CLIMATE WEEK: A HOLISTIC TRANSITION TO A BIO-BASED SECTOR


Generously hosted by Silman in lower Manhattan, Wood at Work and Bauhaus Earth led a half-day working session designed to bring together members of the Built by Nature (BbN) Community of Practice (CofP) and guests to examine and elaborate new modes of systemic collaboration and transdisciplinary, trans-sectoral intervention. The event unpacked the impacts of recent assessments challenging “wood only” approaches to meeting the forecasted demand for global building by 2050, citing risks of deforestation, competition over land use, and inefficiencies in current processing and manufacturing practices by the wood products industry. Over the course of the afternoon, the roundtable working session made significant progress towards setting the directions towards a systemic response to the challenges of nature-based climate solutions in the building sector. The outcome of the event was synthesized in the Securing the Future of Our Forests and Cities call-to-action. The full results of the event can be found here.



 

COP28 DUBAI: CO-CREATING A FOREST-POSITIVE BUILDING RESOURCE PLATFORM 


COP28 marked a crucial moment in addressing groundswell in the rethinking of global built environment systems and incorporating more bio-based materials in city building, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bolster global collaboration and develop coordination platforms. So many fantastic initiatives packed the stages with energy, resources and great people, but not enough coordination to allow strategic roleplaying between these networks. In order to take advantage of these initiatives we must have the right tools and information to contextualize them so we can see how they do (or should) work together. This is the essence of systems thinking that is so easily lost in our enthusiasm to do good work and acquire funding for it. 


To explore how we might improve this situation Pilot Projects co-hosted a workshop at COP28 "Co-creating a #ForestPositive_Buildings Platform". This platform is envisioned as a set of dynamic open sourced maps, tools, and funding mechanisms that support systemic collaboration on this topic. This in-person workshop was hosted by Pilot Projects at Ecuador’s "One Planet Pavilion" inside the Blue Zone at COP28 in Dubai.


Experts from around the world gathered at our outdoor workshop to discuss a global "Forest Positive Buildings" Platform


 

WEBINAR: HOW TO USE THE FOREST FOOTPRINT FOR CITIES DASHBOARD & ACTION PLATFORM 


Cities4Forests hosted the launch of the Forest Footprint for Cities platform, which was held via webinar on Wednesday 29 November from 11-11:45 am EST. The Forest Footprint for Cities is a new online tool that has been developed by Cities4Forests to help cities clearly understand, and reduce, the tropical deforestation they are connected to. This session featured an in-depth platform demonstration where attendees explored interactive visualizations on the dashboard, learned how to navigate the Action Platform, and gained insights through case studies and supporting resources. 


The recording of the webinar can be found here.



 

GEORGETOWN (GUYANA) PARTNER FOREST LAUNCH: “FOREST COVERS”


On November 20th in Georgetown, the Capital of Guyana, (the country with effectively the world's highest tropical forest cover and lowest deforestation rate) we launched "Conservation Timber Works" - a Cities4Forests Partner Forests Program with the Guyana Forestry Commission and the City Council of Georgetown. The project is a collaboration with several entities to ensure its scalability: national government, municipal government, private sector companies, community forestry partners and Cities4Forests. This project takes FSC certified timber "waste" or low grade stock, and adds value to it by using shorts for municipal infrastructure while addressing the city’s immediate need for manhole covers. With this program we will also be able to significantly improve the utilization rate from local mills or forest floor residues, and create demand for this globally. This use of conservation timber also scores highly on most of the Sustainable Wood for Cities Pathways


We look forward to scaling this program with the Guyana Forestry Commission, the City of Georgetown, our private sector partners, and the communities who are at the most important link in the value chain protecting forest integrity, and rolling out "forest covers" for all of Georgetown's open manholes.


Read more and see the full image gallery for the Georgetown project here.


 

PARTNER FOREST PROGRAM BRINGS CONSERVATION TIMBER TO STUDENTS IN GALWAY IRELAND


In October we celebrated the launch of a groundbreaking collaboration with the Atlantic Technological University and Galway County Council in Ireland. As part of Galway County’s Partner Forest program, advanced design and woodworking students will use design and craftsmanship to demonstrate how Conservation Timber can be put to use in Galway County and other urban areas of Ireland. This timber, sourced from a social forestry enterprise in the Amazonas state of Brazil, can meet the need for a people-centered approach to public spaces and the municipality’s pace-setting sustainability goals. Additionally, we are working with the Galway County Council and Greenville Procurement Partners to develop Europe's most comprehensive Sustainable Wood Procurement policy that supports and extends the latest EU Green Public Procurement regulations. Learn more about Galway’s Partner Forest Program, the 6th that Cities4Forests has launched in Europe.



 

COLLABORATIVE OPPORTUNITIES for 2024 


SEEKING: Material Flow Analysis experts in Europe!


Pilot Projects Collaborative are seeking a consultant or consulting organisation to co-create and perform a Material Flow Analysis (MFA) for wood and wood fibre-based construction products, from all sources, used by the public and private sectors in Glasgow. This MFA is being conducted with Cities4Forests (as represented by Pilot Projects) as part of Glasgow’s “Partner Forest Program”. The program seeks to build stronger connections and virtuous feedback loops between Glasgow City Council’s Climate Plan and Circular Economy Route Map, and Glasgow’s relationship to forests near and far. 


Cities4Forests’ Sustainable Wood for Cities (SW4C) pathways framework provides a balanced perspective (for public procurement and private projects) to help understand the impact of these, and compare the sustainability benefits of imported, domestic, and circular wood products. The MFA should measure local capacity to supply wood products in alignment with the SW4C framework and will set the baseline for understanding Glasgow’s relation to the flows and sources of wood and wood-fibre based construction materials, and identify sources of Glasgow’s impact. The SW4C framework and MFA outputs will support the Glasgow City Council in providing a basis for future procurement guidance and targeted external outreach and support.


The RFP will remain open for submissions until January 22, 2024. Throughout this period, submissions will be reviewed as they are received to ensure that a suitable candidate/candidates can be identified before the work commences in February 2024. All submissions should be sent to procurement@pilot-projects.org.


 

PILOT PROJECTS IN THE MEDIA IN 2023









De Kinderen van Akarani (Eigen Terrein)








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