EU Research and Innovation for and with Cities

We are pleased to share with you the Publication "EU Research and Innovation for and with Cities" – Yearly mapping report September 2017, a document from DG Research and Innovation related to cities and urban development. This report provides an overview of the main EU Research and Innovation (R&I) actions for and with cities, promoted both at the European and international level to foster sustainable urban development.

In particular, we encourage you to have a closer look at the multiple large scale demonstration projects which are launched in the framework of the cross-cutting Focus Area on 'Smart and Sustainable Cities. The innovation actions "Demonstrating innovative nature based solutions in cities" are aiming by 2020 to healthier and greener European cities, with a focus in 2017 on social cohesion and urban regeneration and in 2016 on enhancing water and climate resilience.

One of the key objectives of the 7th Environmental Action Programme is to help cities become
more sustainable. Cities often share a common set of problems such as poor air quality, high levels of noise, greenhouse gas emissions, water scarcity, and waste. Addressing these problems means working together. This is why the EAP aims to promote and expand initiatives that support innovation and best practice sharing in cities. Some initiatives:

  • The Green City tool is aimed at helping cities assess how they are doing in terms of their approach to environmental sustainability. The tool will also let you compare your results to others, get guidance on key topics, and if you want, put yourself on the map to show that you are talking steps towards becoming more sustainable.
  • The European Green Leaf Award is a competition aimed at cities and towns across Europe, with between populations of 20,000 and up to 100,000 inhabitants, that recognises commitment to better environmental outcomes, with a particular accent on efforts that generate green growth and new jobs. The objectives of the European Green Leaf Award are threefold:
    • To recognise cities that demonstrate a good environmental record and commitment to generating green growth;
    • To encourage cities to actively develop citizens’ environmental awareness and involvement;
    • To identify cities able to act as a ‘green ambassador’ and to encourage other cities to progress towards a better sustainability outcomes.
  • The European Green Capital Award: Today more than two thirds of Europeans live in towns and cities. Urban areas concentrate most of the environmental challenges facing our society but also bring together commitment and innovation to resolve them. The European Green Capital Award has been conceived to promote and reward these efforts.

Efforts are also made to map urban green infrastructure and ecosystem services, with a view to ease their inclusion in policy setting, by pointing out data and indicators that can be used to develop green infrastructure policy in cities. For example, "En Route" (Enhancing Resilience of urban ecosystems through green infrastructure) is a project of the European Commission in the framework of the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the Green Infrastructure Strategy. EnRoute provides scientific knowledge of how urban ecosystems can support urban planning.

The Action Plan for Nature, People & Economy, aims to implement the 2020 Habitats and Birds Directive. The Sendai Framework commits countries to substantially reduce disaster risk and losses by 2030. By improve the understanding of green infrastructure development in cities and urban areas through the development of guidance material, the EU offers an opportunity to advance disaster risk reduction.