GrowGreen kicks off!

Innovation will be the focus of GrowGreen, which aims to create green cities for climate and water resilience, sustainable economic growth, and healthy citizens and environments. This new five-year demonstration project is funded by Horizon 2020, the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, to showcase the benefits for urban climate and water resilience of nature based solutions.

GrowGreen will provide the platform for a step-wise change in the way that nature-based solutions are embedded in the long-term planning, development, operation and management of cities around the world.

The project works with four ‘Frontrunner Cities’, where demonstration nature based solutions will be co-designed, co-delivered and co-managed. The three European Frontrunners are Manchester, UK; Valencia, Spain; and Wrocław, Poland. These cities are linked with Wuhan in China, which will act as an incubator of the first regional hub of a global network of nature based solutions practitioners. Each Frontrunner City is then paired with a ‘Follower City’, Brest, France; Modena, Italy; and Zadar, Croatia, which will learn from the implementation strategies and business models adopted by the Frontrunners.

Each pair of cities, consisting of a Frontrunner and a Follower, confronts a similar climate challenge: Manchester and Brest both deal with mostly water management risks. Valencia and Zadar have mostly heat management risks to tackle, and Wroclaw and Modena are faced with both heat and water management risks. The Followers can then learn about the most relevant ways of implementing nature based solutions for climate and water resilience from their paired Frontrunner City.

The project is coordinated by Manchester City Council and managed by the Manchester Climate Change Agency, and involves 21 partners from across Europe and China. The partners met in Manchester in June for the kick-off meeting.