Spatial Adaptation for Heat Resilience in Small and Medium Sized Cities in the 2 Seas Region | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën

Cool Towns

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Spatial Adaptation for Heat Resilience in Small and Medium Sized Cities in the 2 Seas Region

Priority Axis

Adaptation to Climate Change

Specific objective

Adaptation to Climate Change

Lead partner

Gemeente Middelburg

Start Date


End Date


Project budget

7 948 972

ERDF amount

4 664 564

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    Climate change causes warmer summers with more frequent droughts and heat waves. In many small and medium sized cities of the 2 Seas area, these higher temperatures have a negative impact on public health, productivity, wellbeing, air and water quality and other urban systems. We call these impacts Heat Stress. The need for spatial heat stress adaptation is clear. But to improve their heat resilience, cities still lack essential knowledge and tools for:

    • setting heat resilience objectives (existing and desired heat situation) and making investment decisions (where, which measures)
    • effective heat adaptation measures with co-benefits for other urban needs (e.g. air quality, flood prevention)
    • integrating heat resilience in broader climate adaptation and spatial development strategies
    • build capacity and sense of urgency for heat resilient design among urban planners, (landscape) architects, builders and building/home owners.

    Main Achievements

    Climate change causes warmer summers with more frequent occurrence of heat waves. In many small and medium-sized cities, this causes heat stress and has an impact on public health, productivity and well-being. Cool Towns is a collaboration between 13 partners – cities, academia and companies - to reduce heat stress in cities. The partners work on solutions at street level to combat heat effectively. The project runs from 9/2018 – 9/2022 with support from the EU program Interreg 2 Seas.

    To map the extent of heat stress in our cities and the impact of various intervention scenarios, the partners have developed a model to map stress in our partner cities and combine this with spatial information on vulnerable groups and functions to further improve heat resilience planning in cities.

    To gain insight into the current thermal comfort of our cities during summer days, the academic partners developed a measurement protocol. Based on this standard method our partners made heat stress measurements on various locations in Ostend (BE), Breda and Middelburg (NL), Kent and Southend-on-Sea (UK), Saint-Omer (FR) and in the province of East Flanders (BE) and interviewed the public in these sites. These measuremetns are repeated each summer from 2019 - 2022.

    With the measurement results we will also build several tools for public authoirities to better prepare their cities for future heat events: a decision support toolkit will allow planners, landscape archites and local authoerities to identify the best heat resilience measures for their territory. And a roadmap for policymakers will show practical steps towards integrating heat resilience in local policymaking from the start.

    In 2020 Cool Town launched a training programme which educates professionals and students in urban planning, policy makers an dpropoerty owners on al dimensions of heat stress and the available solutions and approaches. 

    An important part of Cool Towns is the realization of 7 pilots in the participating cities to demonstrate and investigate a range of measures to reduce heat stress in public spaces. For example, Ostend (BE) is transfroming a parking space into a cool, green oasis in the city center and Breda (NL) is developing a water playground to cool their city center. East Flanders (BE) has created green and shady schoolyards and Middelburg (NL), Southend (UK), Kent (UK) and Saint Omer (FR) are making city centres and residential areas greener and cooler in various ways.



    Gemeente Breda

    Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen

    Stad Oostende

    Southend on Sea Borough Council (SBC)

    University of Greenwich

    Kent County Council

    Université Picardie Jules Verne (UPJV)

    GreenBlue Urban

    AUD Agence d'Urbanisme et de Développement de la Région de Saint-Omer et Flandre Interieure

    Hogeschool van Amsterdam

    Sioen Industries

    Communauté d’agglomération du Pays de Saint Omer


    URL / Download

    Cool Towns

    Theme: Innovation in citiesClimate change
    Type: e-infrastructure/online tool
    Target: Environmental agencies