I’ve been working on implementing Nature Based solutions in the city of Leuven. In Leuven we have 2 pilot locations. One is a residential neighbourhood and the other is a residential care center. In both locations we – the Life Pact partners- have organized participative workshops with the citizens and/or residents. Together we are co-creating and implementing NBS in the pilot locations.
Like other cities around the world, Leuven finds itself increasingly confronted with the effects of climate change: drier summers, more frequent flooding, more heatwaves. To combat these and other climaterelated events, the city in recent years has turned to implementing measures aimed at increasing its resilience. Working alongside Leuven 2030, the multi-stakeholder initiative dedicated to accelerating Leuven’s transition, it has made important strides in adapting to climate change, adopting a Rainwater Strategy in 2019 and a Drought Strategy in 2020. It is currently in the process of designing a Greenery Strategy, aimed at expanding and preserving the city’s green spaces. Together, these three strategies make up the city's adaptation strategy. The adaptation strategy is closely aligned with Leuven 2030's Roadmap, which sets the overall direction for Leuven's climate efforts.
To implement its adaptation strategy, the city has established a cross-departmental adaptation team. As its name suggests, this team contains representatives from multiple departments, including the Departments of Sustainability, Greenery, and Road and Water Management. The latter recently converted the strategy's objectives into a more detailed action plan. The plan involves the implementation of a suite of adaptation measures across the city and the roll-out of a comprehensive communication strategy, designed to raise awareness of, and strengthen the support base for, urban adaptation measures. For its efforts on sustainability and climate change, Leuven in 2018 was rewarded with the European Commission's Green Leaf Award. In 2020, thanks again in large part to its efforts to address climate change, Leuven received the European Capital of Innovation Award.
Since the city is the coordinating beneficiary I also oversee the overall project management. Together with partners like KU Leuven, Zorg Leuven, Leuven 2030, City of Madrid, City of Kraków, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Democratic Society and Dark Matter Labs we are implementing NBS, sharing knowledge and making the cities of Leuven, Madrid and Kraków more climate resilient.