Connecting Nature Impact Summit Genk 2022

Connecting Nature Impact Summit Genk 2022

This Event is now closed

Access to nature in our cities has never been more important. City residents have turned to nature in huge numbers and being able to access nature locally is a vital resource. Nature and natural environments also offer many services and solutions from improving the health and well-being of citizens to addressing contemporary (urban) problems like flooding, temperature control, and tackling air pollution.    How do cities develop inclusive nature-based strategies, that provide multiple benefits for citizens, biodiversity and tackle climate change and importantly, how do you capture the evidence that supports investment in nature?    

Over 2 days in April 202,  the Connecting Nature Impact Summit, Genk brought together a wide range of local, regional and international participants to demonstrate how nature impacts our lives, socially, environmentally, economically and how Nature-based Solutions can provide a positive impact for urban environments and protect biodiversity.  

This hybrid event was the final summit in the Connecting Nature Summit series and included both online and in person presentations, workshops, round table discussions, site visits, exhibitions and performances, all in a creative and festive atmosphere at Thor Park in Genk. 


The event programme was based on three main building blocks of the Connecting Nature Framework: 

  1. 'Thinking with nature' explored the larger scale policy, strategy, planning and theoretical implications under the umbrella theme of Nature-based Solutions. Discussions included the impact of Nature-based Solutions on different policy levels; on the impact on climate resilience; etc.
  2. 'Building with nature' focused on translating ideas into action. It looked at the design and development process, from defining a project to the design and development process. The integrated approach needed because of the layered character of Nature-based Solutions has an impact on the organization of a cities administration.  
  3.  'Living with nature' was about the governance, communities and stewardship of nature and natural environments. It was about the impact of Nature-based Solutions on the neighbourhoods and citizens involved. It offered community leaders the opportunity to look at longer-term care and management. 

download programme here


The ‘Connecting Nature Impact Summit, Genk’ wraped up five years of research and innovation from the H2020 funded Connecting Nature project, a 30+-partner project which resulted in the implementation of large scale Nature-based Solutions in 10 European cities and established a global capacity building programme “Urban by Nature”.  The summit presented innovative results and experiences that are transferable to policy makers, planners, designers, businesses, entrepreneurs and communities across the globe. 


Genk, Flanders’ greenest city, hosted of the event, showcasing excellent examples of how ideas can be put into action. The city was once considered a centre for mining and manufacturing yet over the last decade radically evolved to renature industrial land and revive ecosystems. The Stiemervalley is a blue-green corridor that bisects the city. The area will be transformed into a vibrant, central park that prepares the city for climate change and improves the quality of life of the citizens.  

The summit took place in Thor Central. This former HQ of the coalmine has been transformed into a state-of-the-art meeting and event venue at the gates of the one and only national park in the Flemish region and in the heart of Stiemervalley.