With three quarters of the European Union's population living in cities and further increases expected, societies are increasingly facing socio-political shifts and marginalization. Limited availability of physical space, changing urban demographics, and increasing cultural diversity compound these challenges and create issues like high crime rates, social inequality, poverty, health threats, and unemployment. Some areas are particularly vulnerable, such as economically deprived, abandoned and neglected urban areas with a low share of green spaces. The Horizon2020 funded project “CLEVER Cities” responds to these challenges by designing and implementing locally tailored nature-based solutions (NBS) to foster sustainable and socially inclusive urban regeneration.
Coordinated by the City of Hamburg, CLEVER Cities (i.e. Co-designing Locally tailored Ecological solutions for Value added, socially inclusivE Regeneration in Cities) involves 33 partners from Europe, South America, and China. The cities of Hamburg, London and Milan will implement a range of NBS interventions during the project, and partake in exchanges with six further cities (Sfântu Gheorghe, Quito, Madrid, Belgrade, Larissa, and Malmö) to share experiences, facilitate mutual learning and stimulate local NBS planning. In particular, the locally-tailored NBS will focus on improving human health and well-being, sustainable economic prosperity, social cohesion and environmental justice, and citizen security for urban populations. The deployment, monitoring, and replication of a range of ecological solutions will help CLEVER Cities to achieve the following objectives over its five-year duration:
- Advance the knowledge base on NBS for inclusive urban regeneration,
- Integrate NBS in urban regeneration and planning process, and
- Produce governance, business and financial models for NBS projects.
Ecologic Institute in CLEVER Cities
Within the transdisciplinary research and implementation project, Ecologic Institute will coordinate the development of the CLEVER Knowledge Framework, consisting of a series of targeted guidelines, factsheets, and checklists to guide project activities. It will also lead the policy analysis in the case study sites and on the European level to identify policy gaps and formulate multilevel recommendations. The Institute will further coordinate the development of the CLEVER Cities Guidance, providing planning authorities and decision makers, businesses, academia and other stakeholders with tools and tailored information to successfully plan, design and implement collaborative NBS for urban regeneration. Finally, Ecologic will support outreach and dissemination activities to increase the reach and impact of CLEVER Solutions and other project outputs.