Uk Urban Forum



Introduction

The Urban Forum of the UK-Man and the Biosphere Committee is a network of managers, planners and researchers involved with the environment and nature conservation in urban areas

Its mission is to:

  • Raise awareness
  • Stimulate research
  • Influence policy
  • Improve the design and management of urban systems
  • Push urban nature conservation up the social and political agenda
Teasels

Its distinctive contribution to this goal is integrated thinking. Nature in cities crosses many specialist boundaries. The Urban Forum tries to reflect and express these specialisms, and the many and complex realities they represent. In the breadth of its agenda and the range of its membership, it is unique within the UK.

Its distinctive contribution to this goal is integrated thinking. Nature in cities crosses many specialist boundaries. The Urban Forum tries to reflect and express these specialisms, and the many and complex realities they represent. In the breadth of its agenda and the range of its membership, it is unique within the UK.

The Man and the Biosphere initiative originated in the International Biological Programme and the "Biosphere" conference organised by UNESCO in 1968. The main result of this was an interdisciplinary research and training programme aimed at improving the relationship between people and their environment. The MAB approach tries to reconcile conservation with the rational use of natural resources and the maintenance of cultural values. Urban systems is one of six international MAB project areas.

The Urban Forum was established in 1987.

Its main work is:

  • publishing discussion papers
  • preparing comments on national issues and policies
  • generating new concepts, guidelines and research
  • organising conferences and seminars and networking with other expert groups

Some of its work is done in collaboration with other organisations. It also awards the UK MAB Urban Wildlife Award for Excellence (which includes the MAB logo) to key "demonstration" projects and nature conservation sites - a process that involves site visits and appraisals.

The Urban Forum forum meets four times a year but much of its work is done through networking, informal sub-groups and so on. In order to maximise the contribution and commitment of its members, all of whom work in a voluntary capacity and have heavy professional workloads of their own, it sets annual work programmes, each with a strategic framework and realistic targets for delivery.

Members of the Urban Forum come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from ecologists to academics and journalists, from NGOs to local authorities, government agencies and private consultancies, from those primarily concerned with conserving "nature" - plants, wildlife, biodiversity - to those who work with people and deal with the human impact of green space. Currently there are over 20 members, who collectively contribute to the continuing reputation of the UK as a centre of excellence in this field. The networking and multi-disciplinary approach which is the hallmark of the Urban Forum is a source of new insights - the promulgation of which, to a wider audience, is seen as one of the forum's key roles.

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