Nature Smart Cities across the 2 Seas | 2 Mers Seas Zeeën


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Nature Smart Cities across the 2 Seas

Priority Axis

Adaptation to Climate Change

Specific objective

Adaptation to Climate Change

Lead partner

Southend on Sea Borough Council


Start Date


End Date


Project budget

6 380 472

ERDF amount

3 828 283

ERDF rate



    Common challenge

    A clear knowledge gap exists for local authorities (LAs) that prevents them from deploying green infrastructure (GI) on a scale that enables urban landscapes to adapt to the future impacts of climate change and build more sustainable communities. Cities and towns are not investing in GI and the valuation tools for justifying GI on economic, social, cultural and environmental grounds are simply not being used by LAs, who instead rely on EU and national subsidies or deliver GI projects on a ‘one off’ basis. The exceptions are capital/larger cities (populations > 550,000 approx.) that have access to more finance and resources than smaller urban areas. Urban areas < 550,000 people are not investing in GI. Valuation tools for GI are simply not being used and LAs lack the ability to properly account for the direct cash benefits of GI. LAs need to be enabled to overcome market barriers to using their own city-finance to fund GI climate investments and step away from subsidy dependence.

    Main Achievements

    Since its start in September 2018, the Nature Smart Cities Project has made good progress in delivering planned deliverables which will culminate in the successful achievement of the project objectives by February 2022.

    The main focus of the project is the Development of a Business Model that local authorities (LAs) can use to justify the use of ‘city finance’ to fund their urban greening programme. Many deliverables will come together to form the Business Model & a step-by-step methodology for the LA audience. To date the academic Partners have worked together to produce a report on the benefits of Green Infrastructure and a review of the financing options available to local authorities to fund urban greening programmes. A series of semi-structured interviews have also been started with LA staff from the Project Partners. The interviews will be brought together in a report which will detail experience in delivering green infrastructure including the benefits derived, barriers encountered in project delivery, information needed to gain political support, successful approval processes & the usefulness of valuation toolkits.

    To support, test and validate the business model the project will deliver 7 investment pilots for Green Infrastructure across the UK, France, Belgium & the Netherlands. Despite a few of the pilots experiencing delays. For a number good progress has been made on the planning, public consultation and implementation of these pilots. For example, the pilot for the Province of Antwerp & Zuidrand region focusses on the delivery of 7 ‘mini’ GI climate investments by delivering permeable pathways that are both climate resilient & improve accessibility between urban areas. To date, 2 of these 7 ‘mini’ pilots has been completed. The City Partners have been working with the Academic Partners to ensure the information from the pilots is fed into the development & testing of the business model. 

    The capacity of LAs to utilise the Business model will be developed through the delivery of a capacity building programme in each of the project countries. Two test workshops have been held in the Netherlands & the UK to support the development of programme content. The first official workshop of the UK programme is scheduled for March 2020. 

    The project has a newly established website where users can find information regarding the project, the investment pilots, & a data library where all publications & outputs will be made available.



    City of Bruges

    Municipality Kapelle

    Imperial College London

    Provincie Antwerpen

    Den Haag

    Cambridge City Council

    Universiteit Gent

    Universiteit Antwerpen


    De Zuidrand Streekvereniging