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CLEVER Cities - Co-designing Locally tailored Ecological solutions for Value added, socially inclusivE Regeneration in Cities

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CLEVER Cities (CLEVER Cities - Co-designing Locally tailored Ecological solutions for Value added, socially inclusivE Regeneration in Cities)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2021-05-31

The CLEVER Cities project uses nature-based solutions to address urban challenges and promote social inclusion in cities across Europe, South America and China. Together, local governments, civil society, universities and businesses design, test and implement CLEVER Cities packages for urban planning processes in the cities of Hamburg, London and Milan.
The CLEVER Action Labs are the specific areas of these cities where the nature-based solutions will be implemented. Their citizens are key since they are the experts of their areas; project partners will work together with the local citizens, using both digital means and face-to-face settings, from the design phase through to implementation and monitoring, in a process of co-creation.
The cities of Sfantu Gheorghe, Quito, Madrid, Belgrade, Larissa and Malmo replicate and tailor the nature-based solutions to their local needs with the help of roadmaps, guidance on governance, business and financial models, co-created by the CLEVER Cities team. CLEVER Cities learning platforms and training opportunities enable cities and project partners to share best practice, discuss challenges and gain in-depth knowledge from thematic experts.

Nature-based solutions (NBS) means planning and designing natural features, such as trees, plants and green spaces, in a way that can help address urban challenges. With three quarters of the European Union’s population living in cities, and deprived areas of those cities often lacking in quality green spaces, CLEVER Cities intends to position nature-based solutions as a means to improving public health, social cohesion, citizen security and increasing economic opportunities in those areas.
CLEVER Cities aims to:
• increase and improve local knowledge of nature-based solutions,
• demonstrate that greener cities work better for people and communities,
• contribute data and information to EU policy-making, and ultimately
• promote and enable the uptake of nature-based solutions in urban planning world-wide.
In WP1 a Guiding Framework for CLEVER activities, including guidance on stakeholder mapping, designing urban Living labs, and utilizing EU data platforms and priority areas for CLEVER Cities has been elaborated (D1.1). This has been followed by the development of an Analysis report on global, EU, national policy framework and barriers and opportunities for FR/FE (D1.2).

In WP2 FR Cities defined 3 CLEVER Actions Labs each and set up an Urban Innovation Platform as arena for relevant Stakeholders. Each FR has come up with a co-creation plan comprising co-creation strategies for each CAL. In parallel, work with the local Stakeholders has begun using the UIP format. A wide Variety of participatory and collaborative Events have taken place leading to first co-designs for NBS. This has been complemented by a co-implementation plan - a road map to realizing the co-created CLEVER Stimuli.

In WP3 FE Cities started their work and launched own UIPs. Each FE developed a NBS Roadmap aiming at the mainstreaming of NBS in their local urban Regeneration Policy.

WP4 saw the forming of Local Monitoring Teams, cluster of academic and NGO Partners that support the FR in assessing the impact of CLEVER Actions. A Monitoring Framework has been developed, a Monitoring strategy with both jointly applied and specific Key Project Indicators is About to be finalized. On the road towards a CLEVER data hub the structure of this central gate to CLEVER data has been researched and an EU data Integration protocol was drafted in order to guarantee the compability with other relevant European data.

WP5 started the market Player inventory, a first step towards linking Business and pubic actors in CLEVER and also towards the development of attractive Finance and Business models for NBS. The work on a report on this Topic has been initiated in October. The first Tranche of an innovative Workshop format (CiBiX) which also is supposed to both Bridge the gap between different sectors and to support the work in the UIPs has been launched in the FR.

WP6 has only just begun to map Stakeholders on a wider scale for the CLEVER Regional Hubs to be in South-Eastern Europe, Latin America and China. This is the first step to a global Impact of the Project.

All communication and Dissemination activities are coordinated in WP7. CLEVER has already been represented at more than 100 events such as academic conferences, Exhibitions, local Festivals, political Events or the EU week of regions and Cities. Collaboration has been initiated not only with the NBS sister Projects but also with a wider Community of European Projects, Researchers and Policy makers.
CLEVER Cities is offering a unique opportunity to test out the co-design of NBS with different stakeholders and citizen based urban living labs. That is a new methodology that is under investigation in all 2017 EC H2020 projects (since they started the trend). No one ( nor project) has the key knowledge to what works best and/or does not work since it is a very specific place-based tailored to context implementation. At least, learning form some other projects experiences, we all do it differently than one another.

The comparative assessment of the 9 CALs in the 3 FRs has been a challenge since they have different types, spatial scales, financial, governance processes: Learning by doing from co-creation planning, co-design and co-management, is a reverse methodological process to what we currently know little as urban planning policies (from real life implementation). The question of whether the bottom-up approach can dictate the social inclusiveness in urban regeneration leads the Project beyond state of the art. Scientifically speaking, there is no literature on that, and if any, they are more limited to social housing, transportation, food governance and other urban domains rather than green urban infrastructure -such as: NBS- impacts on citizens health and wellbeing, safety, environmental, and economic prosperity as CLEVER is trying to put together).

At the end of the Project, CLEVER Cities
- will have contributed to the creation of an European reference Framework for NBS,
- intends to support the EU in becoming a global leader in marketable NBS,
- will have raised the public awareness on NBS - in the FR, FE and beyond
- will have conceptualised, tested and researched co-creation approaches and will be able to increase the local ownership of NBS
- will have replicated NBS in non-EU countries (Focus: South Eastern Europe, Latin America, China)
- will contribute to the enhanced implementation of EU environmental policies
- will have created Greener, healthier, socially inclusive cities fostering Climate Adaptation, urban biodiversity and Citizen safety
- will have researched new approaches and financial concepts which improve the bankability of NBS and contribute to their ever increasing uptake and replication.