Project Details

Title: Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco Towns
Priority: 2: Environment and risk prevention
Theme: Natural and technological risks (including climate change)

Type of intervention

Type of intervention: 1: Regional Initiative Project
Mini-programme: No
Duration: 1st Sep 2008 - 31st Aug 2011


Total budget: €3,182,929.00
ERDF contribution: €2,428,198.75

Lead partner

Town and Country Planning Association
17 Carlton House Terrace
SW1Y 5AS, London

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Diane Smith
      Phone: 442079308903
      Fax: 442079303280

Project summary

The Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco Towns (GRaBS) project aims to improve the regional decision and policy making process in relation to the planning and development of new and existing urban areas in eight EU member states in the contect of climate change. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are now at their highest for 3 million years and as a result urban areas are vulnerable to increased temperatures and flooding. Regional spatial planning and urban design can provide solutions to reduce vulnerability and risk. Green infrasructure including gardens, parks, productive landscapes, green corridors and green roofs and walls and blue infrastructure such as water bodies, rivers, streams, floodplains and sustainable drainage systems, play a vital role in creating climate resilient development, a role, which is currently not sufficiently recognised and utilised and lacks integration in main stream planning.

There are 14 partners drawn from eight member states representing a broad spectrum of authorities, climate change challenges and with varying degrees of strategic policy and experience. The project facilitates the much needed exchange of knowledge and experience and the actual transfer of good practice on climate change adaptation strategies to local and regional authorities. In addition a climate change risks and vulnerability assessment tool will be produced through this interregional collaboration. Through stakeholder and community engagement, as well as the development of regional policy networks, partners will produce High Level Policy Statements and Climate Change Adaptation Action Plans to ensure climate resilient future development in their regions. In this process, partners will take part in thematic seminars, study visits, and a mentoring programme as well as apply the climate assessment tool in their own locality.

A key outcome of GRaBS will be a user-friendly and easily transferable and replicable strategic planning methodology together with a vulnerability and risk assessment tool available to all European regional and local municipalities. The project will also deliver a database of good practice green and blue space adaptation approaches and Expert Papers for dissemination throughout Europe. By advancing the knowledge and expertise of partner staff, decisions makers, politicians and communities, regional and local municipalities will be able to make a more informed and strategic response to climate change adaptation. In the long term communities will reduce their vulnerability to the environmental, social and economic damage related to climate change impacts including extreme temperature increases and flooding incidents.

Project achievements

The "Green and Blue Space Adaptation for Urban Areas and Eco towns" (GRaBS) project began in September 2008, and after three years has successfully facilitated an exchange of knowledge and experience and the actual transfer of good practice on climate change adaptation strategies to local and regional authorities. During the course of the project, its four main objectives have been achieved:

 Raising awareness and increasing expertise of key bodies responsible for spatial planning and development on how green and blue infrastructure can help urban areas adapt to climate change. Through 40 interregional events (including mentoring visits, study visits, seminars and workshops) partners have built up their adaptive capacity and assisted each other through the adaptation action planning process. The mentoring programme was key to this process, with numerous visits to witness policy and operational measures in partner countries. Awareness has also been raised through extensive

promotional activity at national/international conferences and local/regional events. Publications (such as newsletters, policy guidelines, specialist articles and expert papers) have been widely disseminated at events and via the project website. GRaBS has also received extensive media coverage.

 Developing 11 partner Adaptation Action Plans to drive the integration of climate change adaptation into local/regional planning and development. Partners have followed the adaptation action planning cycle set out in the AAP Guidance document produced in 2009: from analysing their baseline situations (by conducting a SWOT Analysis), to raising awareness amongst staff, politicians, stakeholders and the community, to agreeing high-level aims and objectives and finally developing an adaptation action programme.

 Developing a Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Tool to aid the strategic planning of climate change adaptation responses. The University of Manchester (UoM) has worked with partners

on ways in which the Tool can support AAP development, decision-making and awareness-raising. Having liaised with partners and a wide range of professionals from around the world, the UoM also produced an interactive Database of Good Practice Case Studies.  Improving stakeholder and community understanding and involvement in adaptation planning. Partners have established 12 new or improved regional policy networks and 10 community networks, and have organised a wide range of community network events and dissemination events throughout the course of the project, but particularly in 2011 once their AAPs were being finalised.


Partners have exchanged knowledge and experience at six Project Steering Committee meetings and associated study visits, seminars and workshops. These took place in Malmo and Amsterdam in 2009, Graz and Bratislava in 2010, and in Sicily in 2011, and were accompanied by a series of workshops and site visits. The exchange of experience culminated in a Final

Conference in London in June 2011, where 160 delegates (from politicians to policy-makers and climate change practitioners) learnt about the achievements of the GRaBS project, from high-level speakers and partners alike. Partners made presentations on their AAP and high-level policy statement development, expert paper topics, community involvement in adaptation planning, and the value of the Assessment Tool. Workshops were also held for partners to share the expertise developed on each theme in more detail, and to discuss the transferability of lessons to non-partners and integrate climate change adaptation into local and regional planning.


The success of the GRaBS project has been evidenced by the recognition it has received from DG REGIO and INTERREG IVC in being a finalist for the REGIOSTARS award. Furthermore GRaBS and its good practices will be presented at the Good Practice Fair in Krakow in November 2011.


Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
Town and Country Planning Association, London UNITED KINGDOM Inner London 442079308903
The University of Manchester, Manchester UNITED KINGDOM Greater Manchester 441612756882
The Amsterdam City District of Nieuw-West, Amsterdam NETHERLANDS Noord-Holland 31-(0)20-8898467
London Borough of Sutton, London UNITED KINGDOM Outer London 0044208 770 6258
Province of Genoa, Genova ITALY Liguria 390105499951
City of Malmö, Malmö SWEDEN Sydsverige 46 46 34 20 30
Regional Environment Centre for Eastern Europe, Country Office Slovakia, Bratislava SLOVAKIA Bratislavsky kraj 421 2 52632942
Municipality of Kalamaria, Thessaloniki GREECE Kentriki Makedonia 302310-493261
Etnambiente, Misterbianco ITALY Sicilia 39 095 913 462
University of Catania, Catania ITALY Sicilia 39 095 7382216
South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), Guildford UNITED KINGDOM Surrey, East and West Sussex 441483500791
Southampton City Council, Southampton UNITED KINGDOM Hampshire and Isle of Wight 004423 8083 2600
Klaipeda University Coastal Research and Planning Institute, Klaipeda LITHUANIA Lietuva (370) 46 39 88 38
Provincial Governement of Styria, Department of Spatial Planning, Graz AUSTRIA Steiermark 0043 316 877 2526
Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA), Warrington UNITED KINGDOM Cheshire 441925400246


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