VARCITIES

EU H2020 VARICITIES - VISIONARY NATURE BASED ACTIONS FOR HEATH, WELLBEING & RESILIENCE IN CITIES

VARCITIES
  • Project duration: August 2020 - February 2025
  • Project status:
    Ongoing
  • Funding:
    Societal Challenge (Horizon 2020 /EU funding /Project)
  • Total project budget: €11,129,569.50
In an increasingly urbanising world, governments and international corporations strive to increase productivity of cities, recognized as economy growth hubs, as well as ensuring better quality of life and living conditions to citizens. Although significant effort is performed by international organisations, researchers, etc. to transform the challenges of Cities into opportunities, the visions of our urban future are trending towards bleak. Social services and health facilities are significantly affected in negative ways owed to the increase in urban populations (70% by 2050). Air pollution and urban exacerbation of heat islands is exacerbating. Nature will struggle to compensate in the future City, as rural land is predicted to shrink by 30% affecting liveability. VARCITIES puts the citizen and the “human community” in the eye of the future cities’ vision. Future cities should evolve to be human centred cities. The vision of VARCITIES is to implement real, visionary ideas and add value by establishing sustainable models for increasing H&WB of citizens (children, young people, middle age, elderly) that are exposed to diverse climatic conditions and challenges around Europe (e.g. from harsh winters in Skelleftea-SE to hot summers in Chania-GR, from deprived areas in Novo mesto-SI to increased pollution in Malta) through shared public spaces that make cities liveable and welcoming.


In an increasingly urbanising world, governments and international corporations strive to increase productivity of cities, recognized as economy growth hubs, as well as ensuring better quality of life and living conditions to citizens. Although significant effort is performed by international organisations, researchers, etc. to transform the challenges of Cities in to opportunities, the visions of our urban future are trending towards bleak. Social services and health facilities are significantly affected in negative ways owed to the increase in urban populations (70% by 2050). Air pollution and urban exacerbation of heat islands is exacerbating. Nature will struggle to compensate in the future City, as rural land is predicted to shrink by 30% affecting liveability. VARCITIES puts the citizen and the “human community” in the eye of the future cities’ vision. Future cities should evolve to be human centred cities.

The vision of VARCITIES is to implement real, visionary ideas and add value by establishing sustainable models for increasing H&WB of citizens (children, young people, middle age, elderly) that are exposed to diverse climatic conditions and challenges around Europe (e.g. from harsh winters in Skelleftea-SE to hot summers in Chania-GR, from deprived areas in Novo mesto-SI to increased pollution in Malta) through shared public spaces that make cities liveable and welcoming.

VARCITIES has the following specific objectives:

  • To contribute to the shaping of future cities by developing nature-based (NBS) solutions integrating DSC innovation with high replication potential in eight European cities. The pilots are anchored to already enacted and financed European City projects.
  • To design visionary NBS solutions to address the H&WB of citizens by co-creating forward-planning solutions with the public, local authorities and industry.
  • To assess the sustainability and impact of interventions through developing new and advancing existing H&WB KPIs based on inputs received from the municipalities, satellite data, citizens, etc.).
  • To achieve knowledge exchange, maximisation of EU investments, advancements beyond the state of the art, through clustering with other European, regional, local initiatives, and platforms (e.g. Covenant of Mayors, Green Digital Chapter Initiative, Forum Smart Cities and Communities, etc.).
  • To improve the sustainable transition to smart and future cities by creating a framework of GBF models of the NBS that considers the unique characteristics of the interventions with the support of the Municipalities.
  •  To measure KPIs and assess the improvements achieved by the interventions on H&WB, DSC contexts through a set of monitoring systems. The proposed actions will leverage and optimize digital services, internet of things, big data, algorithmic, human intelligence etc.
  • To include, in the co-design process, a number of STKs and inspire sustainable and resilient future smart cities which embody principles established or emerging as a best practice, according to the New Urban Agenda for the EU, MAES, Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations by developing a robust dissemination, communication, and capacity building plan.
  • To transfer, upscale and sustain best practices from VARCITIES through the development of the Healthy Cities Helix (>150 members)– a network of industrial actors, exploiters and investors that will outlast the project to ensure high replication potential and exploitation of the solutions proposed in VARCITIES. Strategically H2020/FP7 projects will cluster on the Crowdhelix platform and especially the STKs’ engagement platform of ThinkNature to enable good practices exchange between actors and promoters and systematize VARCITIES approach.

VARCITIES is very much applied, evidenced by 11 domain-expert industry partners and 7 prominent municipalities who jointly comprise over 60% of the consortium and over 60% of the project’s budget. This configuration is in line with the consortium’s end goal of seeing strong and applied exemplar pilots across the VARCITIES municipalities, as well as credible revenue generating and growth opportunities for European SMEs. More importantly, this applied configuration intentionally sets up VARCITIES’s strategic objective of incentivising and influencing indigenous economic NBS activity in several other EU cities based on the VARCITIES “follow the exemplar” approach, where pan-EU adoption of the project’s innovation (i.e. ICT Platform, associated H&WB measurement methodology and framework, and customisable solutions) is being driven as a central aspect of the project (pan EU HealthyCities Helix) with a view to broad replication and re-use of the VARCITIES assets across many other EU Cities.

Publications
VARCITIES project: Visionary nature-based actions for health, well-being and resilience in cities
D´Alonzo V (2021)
Presentation/Speech

Conference: Urban Thinkers Campus of Mannheim | online | 15.7.2021 - 17.7.2021

Partner
Università degli Studi di Padova
Universitetet i Bergen
Sensedge
Decca Technology
BERGEN KOMMUNE
ISOCARP INSTITUTE
CROWDHELIX LIMITED
TELECOMMUNICATION SYSTEMS INSTITUTE
DARTTEK LTD
DIMOS CHANIA
COMUNE DI CASTELFRANCO VENETO
UNISMART PADOVA ENTERPRISE SRL
SKELLEFTEA KOMMUN
LOUTH COUNTY COUNCIL
E2ARC - Energy Efficient Architecture Renovation Cities
MESTNA OBCINA NOVO MESTO
STAD LEUVEN
IES R&D
RAZVOJNI CENTER NOVO MESTO SVETOVANJE IN RAZVOJ DOO
KORONA INZENIRING DD
CYCLOPOLIS SISTIMATA KOINOXRISTON PODILATON IDIOTIKI KEFALEOUXIKI ETERIA
INLECOM INNOVATION
PROSPEX INSTITUTE
University of Malta

Contact

Adriano Bisello

Project managerT 246 550 1740 93+ude.carue@ollesib.onairda

Daniele Vettorato

Vice project managerT 146 550 1740 93+ude.carue@otarottev.eleinad

Cristiana Losso

Project assistantT 806 550 1740 93+ude.carue@ossol.anaitsirc

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