Urban GreenUp kicks off, an H2020 project to renature cities

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On 7 June Valladolid (Spain) hosted the official launch of the Urban Green Up project, funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. Its aim is to develop a new strategy for re-naturing cities through Nature-Based Solutions.

Apart from the environmental benefits of projects of this type, such as increasing resilience to climate change and making cities healthier to live in, the project also aims to drive the green economy within the urban environment, creating jobs and new opportunities and business models. As well as technical actions the project also includes educational activities with public participation and activities to raise city dwellers’ awareness about the environmental, economic and social benefits of green infrastructure.

URBAN GREEN UP, working with a total budget of 14.81 million euros, is being coordinated by the CARTIF Technology Centre and carried out by a wide-ranging international consortium of 25 partners from 9 different countries from 3 continents.

In Spain the Ayuntamiento (City Council) of Valladolid, through its Economic Development and Innovation Agency and with the collaboration of the regional ministries of town-planning and the environment, the River Duero Water Board (Confederación Hidrográfica del Duero), the technology centers CENTA and LEITAT and the companies Acciona, Singular Green and GMV, will be responsible for carrying out the planned project activities in the city of Valladolid itself. Together with Esmirna (Turkey) and Liverpool (UK) Valladolid is one of the project’s three demonstrator cities.

Activities to be carried out in Valladolid include green roofs and facades, vertical mobile gardens, permeable pavements, green noise barriers, smart soils that reduce watering and fertilizer needs and a floodable park alongside the River Esgueva as an example of its flood-damage reduction potential for a flood-prone city like Valladolid.

Within this project GMV is responsible for the work package to monitor renaturing measures. Its final aim is to establish a monitoring scheme to gauge the impact of such measures in terms of improving cities’ response to the abovementioned challenges (e.g. climate change). This will provide a robust data-driven, evidence-based monitoring and diagnosis scheme.

To this end GMV, together with its Urban GreenUP partners, will be helping cities to define and implement a series of key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and will define an ICT platform that is compatible with the cities’ current working protocols and tools. The various project partners will be inputting a series of in-situ, airborne and satellite sensors that will measure the parameters over several years in order to calculate the most suitable efficiency indicators for each renaturing measure. After this monitoring period a global evaluation will then be made of the results in each city.

The project was officially presented by Oscar Puente, Mayor of Valladolid, Buğra Gökçe, Deputy Mayor of Esmirna (Turkey), and James Noakes, Liverpool’s Mayoral Lead for Energy and Smart City (UK). The presentation was attended by the 70+ people who, as representatives of the European Commission, will be working in Valladolid for two days on the launch and first steps of the project.

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