The Future Cities project

Proactively transforming urban structures

The challenge

City structures and the urban living environment are especially vulnerable to extreme changes in weather patterns. As a result of climate change, the temperature in the urban environment is expected to rise, which will have real impacts on the living conditions in our cities. 

However, if we only have reactive policies instead of proactive action plans, then we will be burdened with an increasing expense to make the necessary adaptations in the future. Therefore, anticipatory strategies are needed for adapting the urban structures in a way that mitigates the impacts of a changing climate without endangering the urban living environment.

The project in brief

The Future Cities project was set up to develop joint action plans to enhance the capacity of North-West Europe’s city-regions to cope with increasingly frequent extreme weather events.  8 partners from 5 countries cooperated to develop, apply, and improve assessment criteria for climate-proof cities. They aimed to develop concepts and implementation strategies which:

  • Were innovative and not yet implemented on the practical level
  • Protected against greater financial loss by operating proactively
  • Provided synergy effects and cost effectiveness by applying combined measures.

Adequate action plans were developed in each city region and priority measures were implemented in small-scale investments. The partners developed innovative tools such as the Adaptation Compass, which served as a guidance tool for developing climate-proof city regions. Additionally, the Future Cities project developed a common evaluation method to create adaptation strategies, develop action plans for said strategies, implement demonstration projects and raise awareness using the projects results.

At the end, this project enhanced economic efficiency, and developed key action plans, evaluation methods, and solutions for the cities involved.


One partner developed ‘Eco-retrofit’, a climate change adaptation strategy to reduce increasing energy consumption of buildings.

The impact

As an example, Hastings, UK, developed ‘Eco-retrofit’, a climate change adaptation strategy to reduce increasing energy consumption of buildings. Eco-retrofit offered a way to limit demand and reduce costs.

As part of the project, environmentally-friendly renovation techniques were used to convert a Victorian house into four eco-friendly apartments in order to showcase the benefits of retrofitting older properties. The renovation enabled a 76% reduction in CO2 emissions over €3 000 per year in energy savings.

The Interreg NWE funding has enabled the Future Cities partners to implement concrete adaptation measures based on the retro-fitting of existing infrastructures in England, The Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany.

Our message: Apply climate change adaptation as an opportunity to benefit from multiple land use and reconsider the use of the spaces by allowing them to cover several aspects: water management, public recreation and green structures can be combined in cities reducing climate change impacts such as heat stress and heavy rains.

'The future of our cities' publication

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